In the current economic climate, the news is full of businesses that are suffering and jobs that are being lost. Particularly in tough times, but often on an ongoing basis, the marketing director will have to turn around a poorly performing brand or business. But how? There are three steps to transforming an under-performing business.
1. Understand the effect on your business
First, understand the effect on your business or portfolio as a whole. How significant or material is the effect in relation to the business as a whole? If it is small then delegate responsibility to solve the problem, if large, then there is a case for you to invest more of your own time.
2. Diagnose the problem
Then diagnose the cause as quickly as possible. Ask questions and form your own opinion of the cause and the ability of your team to solve the problem. The scale, complexity, political sensitivities of the problem will affect the ability of your own team to develop a solution. Using consultants and conducting original customer research can be helpful in being both objective and apolitical.
Is the problem a one-off, recurring or ongoing?
Is the problem caused by an internal operational issue or external market forces?
Is the problem product, promotion or strategy related?
Is it people or process related?
What plans do we have to deal with the issue?
3. Drive change
When you fully understand the issues and have a plan in place then drive change. Here your approach must depend on the effect of the business problem and the ability of your team to solve the problem. If the problem is less significant, a lighter touch may be appropriate. If the problem is material, you will need to be more directive. Throughout check that the problem is understood, and to corroborate this is the case, ask for a paper discussing the issue as well as recommending options to deal with it. Then drive action. If the problem reaches across departments, set-up a task force to deal with it and ensure clear access to relevant senior management. If the problem is beyond the capability or experience of your current managers, strengthen the team or replace the key people.
Do you need a plan to grow your business or brand? If so get in touch with The Marketing Directors strategic marketing consultancy. Our success stories span a wide range of businesses, sectors, and public sector organisations.