Business success is never guaranteed but you can raise the odds in your favour by making better business decisions. One aspect of this is making better decisions throughout the entire process, from strategy through to execution. Even the most brilliant execution can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes if the strategy is flawed. Conversely, even the greatest strategy can fail if the execution is weak. In this regard, our Decision Wheel framework will help you at each stage of the process and ultimately improve your odds of market success.
The framework focuses on four key interrelated decisions a business typically needs to make. And, along the way, it will help you clarify and prioritize your research and insight projects such that you can build an effective and efficient insights plan that maximizes your return on research investment (RORI). Our case studies offer numerous examples of how we’ve successfully translated this framework in action. Let’s work through the 4 steps that will guide you towards a winning business outcome.
IDENTIFY: Where to compete?
What market should you focus on? Which segment would most benefit? Which user group should you target? A good strategy is based on a business opportunity with a strong foundation. In this early stage, the team works carefully through a process to develop an understanding of the market, discovers the strengths and weaknesses of client brands and competitive brands, and uncovers opportunities for growth. This is where whitespace is discovered and ideas are born! Typical research conducted at this stage includes industry data analysis, historical research, secondary research, usage and attitudes studies, segmentation analysis, website analytics, and analysis of consumer generated data.
GENERATE: What to say and do?
What is the best way to maximize the identified opportunity? At this stage, strategic choices are evaluated and narrowed creating the blueprint for the business, with a particular focus on clarifying what needs to be done to succeed. A strategy for leveraging the optimum opportunity must be developed. Typical research conducted at this stage includes deep dive qualitative research, concept exploration, communication strategy testing, shopper and/or customer research, and online communities.
CONFIRM: How to say and do it?
Execution is key to successfully deliver on the strategy. Options on how to execute plans and strategies need to be developed, assessed, and optimized. The execution strategy comes to life via marketing programs for new products, new advertising claims, new promotions, new pricing, and more. Typical research at this stage includes ad optimization research, concept tests, package optimization tests, promotion optimization test, and in-store/market tests.
ASSESS: How to make it better?
Once a program or product has launched, it is important to measure its effectiveness in the marketplace. Should we continue? Are we meeting the targeted business goals? If not, does the strategy or the execution need fine-tuning? Research conducted at this stage must objectively assess the impact, both positive and negative, and identify optimization opportunities. It might be necessary to revisit the Ideation, Generation, or Confirmation stages at this point to determine if there is a need to fine-tune or course correct. Research typically conducted at this stage includes ad tracking, brand health studies, and sales/shipment data analysis.
It’s important to note that at every stage of the process, from strategy to execution, facts, insights and judgement are necessary to inform decisions. And, once the four stages have been completed, the process does not stop. In fact, the process never stops. The most successful companies use ongoing processes that continually identify, generate, confirm, and assess their research and business strategies – even for their most successful products and services.
Download our Research Decision Wheel to use yourself, or let us help you make better business decisions. We’d love to help you create a tailored research program that will maximize success and lead to impactful outcomes for your business.