By Greg Silverman, Feb 01, 2021
By now, you understand that MMM and MTA are like M&Ms and real cookies. Those models are the junk food of the business world and organizations have relied on for outcomes that last as long as sugar high. But like any junk-food fiend, while consuming these marketing tools was satisfying in the moment, organizations are realizing they aren't feeling well anymore.
When you realize these methods aren't working for your business, it's time to make some changes that improve your business's health once again. In our final installment in our series, we're here to tell you how your business will feel better by becoming a process junkie rather than an outcome junkie.
Uncertainty is the only guarantee when competing in the marketplace. And while some level of unpredictability has always existed, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it to the forefront. This globally significant, emotional event shocked the market, and it's unlikely to bounce back to a "normal" state soon. While many businesses would like a rough estimate of when the economy will recover (a month, a year, etc.), the road ahead is likely long and has more challenges ahead, according to Fortune.
This long road is, in large part, due to consumer behavior. The pandemic has changed the way people work, socialize, and shop, meaning their purchasing behaviors have drastically changed. Not only are things like online shopping becoming more appealing than brick and mortar locations (which was foreseeable), consumers are exhibiting behaviors they have never shown before.
For example, you may be surprised to learn that alcohol sales are down. Forbes explained that after an initial spike in sales at off-premise retail stores at the start of the pandemic, global alcohol sales promptly dropped as restaurants and bars closed and consumers stopped drinking at home. This do-nothing behavior may cost the industry $80B. People choosing not to purchase alcohol during the pandemic was something no one in the industry forecasted happening as they focused on short-term outcomes, not long term phenomenon. In fact, The global alcohol market isn't expected to rebound until 2024.
This is just one example of how COVID-19 has made the future uncertain for many industries and highlights the need for change. New consumer behaviors and economic conditions provide an opportunity for businesses to move away from their traditional strategies and try something new.
The effects of the pandemic have shocked even winning brands into the realization that they must relearn how they develop strategy. Of course, educating a business to rethink strategy is no easy task. Much of this comes down to psychology. Simply Psychology summarized Jerome Bruner's work, a prominent American educational psychologist who broke learning into three stages: Enactive, iconic and symbolic.
The final mode of representation (symbolic) and occurs around age six. In this stage, knowledge is stored primarily as words or symbols that correspond to when a child begins to learn how to read. After that, however, the way we learn and retain information changes. People are more resistant to learning, and it's infinitely easier to retain information through multiple methods (listening, hearing, and experimenting) as opposed to one. It's not enough to listen to a lecture or watch a video; a person must have hands-on experience with the material and other supporting information to retain it better.
Bruner summarized this concept in the following quote:
"Education must, be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them."
Businesses must stop thinking in terms of annual change and reports and instead consider if they learned enough in the moment to change and adapt for the next moment. This requires an organization to be open to learning, especially at a leadership level. However, this may be difficult for decision-makers who are used to acting on intuition. It's inevitable for people to be resistant to change. Still, businesses must let a new strategy and data guide their decisions to remain competitive and achieve revenue goals even in times of uncertainty.
So now we know that learning requires change, but what should your company be doing right now to enable it? The simplest way to stimulate adaptation and learning is to let go of your reliance on outside consultants. As we discussed previously, not only is it more expensive to outsource consulting and analytics, there are other drawbacks as well.
As Forbes explained, when a business hires a consultant, it is essentially outsourcing learning. Consultants learn about crucial aspects of your business, like its performance and future outlook, to provide recommendations. However, this often means slower response times as it takes months for a consultant to understand the core of your business and collect data (something your internal teams already know and may have).
Furthermore, there may be barriers to communication as the consultant does not reside at your organization and may be more difficult to reach over email. While they serve your business's best interests, you don't have their capabilities at your fingertips like you would an internal team. This means there is incomplete actionability and a lower transfer rate or knowledge, which is only to be expected when the recommendations of a consultant are passed down from management to other team members.
Finally, you must consider that when your business hires an outside consultant it's trusting them with your intellectual property. They will have access to many of your business's private documents so there is more risk of something becoming lost in the shuffle or a data breach.
The Concentric Platform helps your organization move away from external consultants and outcomes and begin investing in the knowledge and skills of internal teams with a process. An analytics solution that creates collaboration and can run multiple what-if scenarios, business users can learn how to harness the power of prescriptive analytics and use data more effectively.
Contact Concentric today to learn more about our solution to transform teams from process junkies to outcome junkies.