Intelligence is crucial in estimating the severity and likelihood of risks and the benefits and costs of rewards. Z/Yen's proprietary risk/reward methodology often drives organisations to find information they had previously either not considered or not known. Categorising organisational intelligence:
Z/Yen's work with clients often falls into the four categories above, helping them with:
- structural work, where obvious information is enhanced: management information systems, knowledge management systems, sifting and horizon-peering systems;
- dangerous areas of poor knowledge or gaps: competitor information and analysis, market research of client perceptions, regulatory futures;
- uncertain areas, where patterns need to be challenged and anomalies become paramount: Z/Yen almost plays the corporate 'fool' to challenge established thinking and deep-rooted assumptions;
- strategic information, where thought and consideration are foremost in deriving value from existing information which has not yet brought value: quantitative or statistical studies of customers, correlations between customers and revenue or profit, segmentation analysis, portfolio analysis or scorecard development.
In the stable state, organisations find patterns of success and reinforce them. In the change state, anomalies indicate that established patterns are undergoing discontinuous change, the underlying paradigm is shifting, new patterns of success are emerging. The tension between these change and stability is key - timing is everything. We work in a number of sectors, viz. from technology through finance, facilities management, outsourcing or semiconductors to plastics. We work with a multitude of products, viz. materials, software, hardware, communications, business-to-business services. Our work helps to structure the issues clients face and make choices that improve performance in complex situations where businesses meet businesses and organisations need to balance risks and rewards across several decision makers – typically a much more difficult situation than consumer analysis and sales. Although each project is unique, we have found that there are three flavours of intelligence or market research:
- Understanding: where we investigate buyer motivation, influences on purchasing and the decision-making process. Our clients often undertake this sort of project when they need to understand why they are successful (and why they fail), whether a new product or service is likely to be purchased or when they need to understand the underlying behaviours;
- Measurement: where we identify and quantify a representative sample of the market. This sort of research is most valuable when a company wishes to benchmark their competitive position or would like to quantify the percentage of a market that shares an opinion or a type of behaviour;
- Audits: where we present a “snapshot” of a market either through desk research or simple interviewing. This research is particularly useful when companies are trying to assess whether they should undertake a new venture and they wish to know if other companies have taken similar steps. Equally, our clients frequently “audit” their existing customers in order to improve or extend services.
Our work is bespoke for each client. We build a specific team for each problem with appropriate SpecialiZms. Our project scope depends on the business problem. Because we have investigated many markets and worked with many companies we can act as an objective and informed “sounding board” and provide valuable insights into the possible consequences of business actions. We help our clients become leaders in their market by anticipating the future through understanding the past and the present. Many people when faced with knowledge gaps shrug their shoulders - who is to say? but remember I told you so! As a result of our experience with complex buyers, we understand channels to market, technology life cycles, market evolution, decisions with many individuals or multiple influencers and thus the nuances of organisational purchasing. Yet, as marketing pragmatists, we understand the benefits of simple messages, clear targets and straightforward recommendations.
- Identifying new markets and market opportunities.
- Advising emerging companies on market penetration.
- Crystallising core company values and establishing a brand personality.
- Developing effective sales people, processes and distribution channels.
- Setting up internal marketing functions and allocating marketing budgets.
- Providing strategic advice on marketing pipeline management.
- Building customer loyalty/intimacy.
- Delivering communication/customer audits.
- Providing research to support key marketing messages.
Z/Yen draws on different processes, different aspects of people and different measures using different techniques:
- Systems analysis and data analysis skills and tools, such as information flows, process diagramming, data modelling for management information or decision support.
- Open source information using tools from the intelligence community such as PropheZy, data mining, statistical analysis, competitor contract and client trees.
- Corporate theatre, limit modelling, anomaly worrying, neural network analysis.
- Scenario planning, traditional strategic planning tools, benchmarking, scorecards, online questionnaires.
Z/Yen's work with clients structures their knowledge, reduces their risks and enhances their rewards - it can't be done without intelligence.