Our Marketing System approach to identifying opportunities, structuring their implementation and monitoring progress has been proven effective for many clients. Though we are skilled at all phases of the process, we are best when we start at the start. We view each project as if we were helping to develop a separate operating entity. Some may be line-extensions of existing business. Some may truly be "breakthrough" ideas. But we believe each must fit within a framework established by the opportunity, the possibilities and the probabilities and foster an "enterprise" orientation common to entrepreneurial start-ups.
The Opportunity Assessment provides the structure of both the existing market and the potential market that may be emerging. Our approach is to identify the gaps that are evolving and to size the economic opportunity that is being created.
The Possibility Assessment evaluates the state of various technologies, operating systems and other resources (including human) and determines if the opportunity can be achieved by whatever means is currently available. We also attempt to determine the pace of whatever evolution or basic science may become available or is required to exploit the opportunity within a "reasonable" time-frame.
The Probability Assessment is developed through a marketing, technology and operational audit of the Clients existing capabilities, market position, core competencies and strategic alliances. Our intent is to provide the Client with an assessment of its ability to execute against the opportunity within the parameters of the possibilities given its existing resources, its ability to acquire or develop the necessary additional resources, and its ability to sustain the new product/service/enterprise given its current culture, values and beliefs. There are obviously a number of trade-offs that may enter the analysis such as joint ventures, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions, as well as a number of potential liquidation or "harvest" strategies following the implementation (e.g., buyouts, IPOs or SBUs). It is not our intent to limit either the entry or exit strategies as a part of the analysis, but we do help the Client understand the options prior to the development of the goals and objectives.
Phase 2 allows Randolph's to work closely with the Client in development of goals and objectives. We encourage Clients to incorporate our Phase 1 analysis into a broader strategic plan. In some companies, the Phase 1 analysis may have already been completed as a part of the initiation of the business unit which is driving the new product development functions. If this is true, Randolph's analysis may simply be a summarization of the Clients previously stated goals and objectives, with the addition of some probabilities assigned as a result of phase 1.
Phase 3 (and potentially, several additional phases) takes the resulting information through a multi-stage concept development process to conceive and test several new product or line-extension ideas. The goal is to create a "suite" of ideas with somewhat differing characteristics which can be tested against whatever results have precipitated from Phases 1 and 2. The objective is to optimize against the various variables, not necessarily maximize against all. Should the Client desire different weightings of each of the various variables, these can be adjusted during the economic modeling of each of the concepts as the business cases and financial models are developed.
The end of this (these) phase(s) is one or more completed business cases and a high-level set of marketing, operational and technical requirements. The marketing requirements are then expanded to include a detailed product definition, marketing communications, media, content acquisition/development, distribution, value-based pricing, sales, strategic partner, investment, acquisition and other relevant strategies, plans and functional attributes associated with primarily the "revenue" side of the income statement and the "asset" component of the balance sheet. The operations component takes into account the various development, implementation and ongoing operational strategies, plans and ongoing operating components reflecting primarily the "expense" side of the income statement and the "liabilities" part of the balance sheet.
We stress the need to separate the development of detailed technical requirements, specifications, architectures, project plans, acceptance test criteria and other activities associated with the actual design, development and implementation of the product or service since these will most likely consume most of the cash and time-to-market resources. Doing a thorough job of planning the development effort helps reduce both cash consumed and time-to-market. Randolph's has developed a very detailed project planning template to assist in the creation of this phase, if the Client does not already have a development system, procedures or planning process available.
The final output of this phase is a prioritized list of the development stages against the market opportunity which most closely matches those things that can be done quickly with those things that have the highest perceived value.
This phase then yields a staged development and implementation plan including costs and timings. It forms the foundation or benchmark for the project management tracking systems.
The succeeding phases allow us to work with the Client to manage development through its various testing stages. Randolph's proprietary development process allows the Client to break up the project into components small enough that project teams can work both physically and logically separate while coordinating through a central project management system. For large ($10 million or more annual budgets), Randolph's methodology requires less physical co-location of key resources for long durations and also helps the human resources maintain social and societal ties. It is our experience that co-location helps, but is not the defining variable in the success or failure of large projects. Our experience indicates that the larger the project, the higher the probability that the project will require physical separation, particularly if outside vendors are required for key components. This emphasizes the importance of a project manager and the necessity for a rigorous project management system to ensure the timely deliver of key components, and early warning of schedule slippages.
Randolph's recommends that each project be staged at periodic intervals and compared against acceptance test criteria developed as a part of the business case. While each Client will likely have its own set of criteria with different weights applied to each of the gating variables, it is our experience that with varying amounts of detail and specification, the criteria can be broken into one or more of five components: market size; investment, development and operating costs; time-to-market; and operating leverage including aspects such as asset re-use, margins, barriers-to-entry, etc.
Randolph's strongly recommends the development of hypothesis and relevant scenarios. We strongly recommend that these be "living" elements of the development process and adjusted as new information and testing results emerge from the technical, operational, marketing testing and market trials.
Randolph's has developed and uses a series of templates for Clients to adopt in the development and implementation of the various testing phases or can help each Client adapt its own or other development methodologies. As we review and revise the various components, the result is an increasingly fine-tuned "marketing system" of every component required to implement the project and bring it to profitability.
However, the approach can also assist Clients in identifying bad ideas early on before significant investments have been made and to minimize shut-down costs.
The closest analogy Randolph's has found is in part a result of our musical heritage. We view the design, development, implementation and operation of new products and services to be very much like the creation, arrangement, orchestration and performance of music. The project can be as small as one performer a cappella or as large as ballets or operas. But the result must give the perception internally and externally of harmony, not cacophony of engagement, not entanglement of solutions to the customers problems, not another problem for the customer to solve.
Our role is to support our Clients in any phase or in all phases through to successful implementation, and if desired, operation of the resulting services. We work best when brought in early, but are quick studies and able to make a significant contribution at any or all stages of development.
The essence of our development approach creates a finely tuned blend of all the product or service attributes so that the "audience" is drawn through the awarenessinteresttrialadoptionconversionretentionrelationshipexpansion product/service life-cycle in an entertaining way. The object is to have the prospect/customer acquire or adapt the necessary behaviors as a result of tangible benefits, not disjointed features, and entertaining attributes, not drudgery.
For in the end, Randolph's believes the Client succeeds when the cost of acquisition becomes comparable to the cost of retention, when perceived value exceeds operating costs by integer multiples, and the transaction processing or variable operating costs approach zero. This is best accomplished when a system of variables is optimized rather than a disjointed set of components maximized.