Back to Basics: Leveraging the Little Details to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Life in the time of the coronavirus looks a bit different than what we’re used to. Both personally and professionally, we’ve been forced to slow down, and in many ways, go back to basics. Families are no longer frantically shuffling back and forth between activities, instead favoring a quiet night of board games at home, or going for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the fresh air. Similarly, for many businesses, extreme marketing tactics and operational schemes have gone by the wayside. These days, to gain a competitive advantage in the midst of a slowing economy, businesses are reverting back to the basics of both marketing and business excellence strategies.
Now, more than ever, how to gain a competitive advantage in business means making sure that everything you do is being done well. Rather than going to extremes, it’s the little impressions that matter most in achieving business excellence, especially in the face of this pandemic.
What is business excellence?
Before we get too deep into this discussion, let’s first define what, exactly, we mean by business or operational excellence. Admittedly, it is a difficult term to define because it’s more of a mindset than an actual set of activities you can perform. But, simply stated, you should think of business excellence as the philosophy that considers continued problem solving and leadership as the keys to continued growth. It is made of up 10 core principles:
- Respect every individual. Always consider your employees when making business-related decisions.
- Lead with humility. Be willing to listen and take suggestions.
- Seek perfection. While actually attaining perfection may not be realistic, you can still strive for it.
- Embrace scientific thinking. Don’t let your sales and marketing metrics intimidate you. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.
- Focus on the process. Assess and reassess, and be ready to make adjustments as needed.
- Assure quality at the source. Produce only high-quality content – both in terms of the actual products or services you offer and your branding and marketing elements.
- Flow and pull value. Implement processes that help to ensure a continuous workflow and avoid inefficiencies.
- Think systematically. Every element of your business is interconnected, and each should work in connection with the others to create one complete well-oiled machine.
- Create constancy of purpose. Know your brand goals, and stick to them.
- Create value for the customer. Identify the needs of your audience, and offer worthy solutions.
How do you achieve business excellence in conjunction with your marketing?
Stick to the basics. If you go back and look at the core principles of business excellence outlined above, just about all of them can be applied as seamlessly to your marketing strategy as they can to your overall operational excellence strategy. But there are a handful, in particular, that really matter at a time like this.
First, focus on the process and embrace scientific thinking. We’re in uncharted territory right now. What worked before may not work now. Take a good look at what you’re doing, study your sales and marketing analytics, and be honest with yourself about what you’re seeing. What changes can or should you make to more effectively meet the evolving needs of your clientele?
Next, assure quality at the source and create value for the customer. We touched on this at the very beginning of this post, and it’s worth mentioning again. Whatever you decide to do, do it well. Pay attention to the details, and use your marketing platforms as a visual representation of your brand, reinforcing for your customers that the quality of your products and services remains unchanged despite the challenging business climate. When many consumers’ pocketbooks may be feeling a little lighter than normal, you have to show them that your offering still remains valuable – and may even make their lives a little easier.
And finally, create constancy of purpose. This is, quite possibly, the single most important point to drive home. When you established your business, you likely laid out a mission statement, a why statement and a set of core values. Review them, and stick to them. Pandemic or not, you should always be striving to reiterate your brand values at every turn. That consistency creates a sense of familiarity and trust in your consumers that is invaluable.
To get started building your own marketing and business excellence strategies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact us today, and one of our team members will be in touch.