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Secret Spy? Conducting Competitor Research

Secret Spy? Conducting Competitor Research

It’s not difficult to find the opposite of customer-centricity. I found it while traveling in eastern Europe late last year, where many businesses still—after 50 years of official communism followed by 25 years of capitalism—haven’t discovered the value and competitive advantage of good customer relations. But you don’t have to travel to former totalitarian states to experience horrendous customer service. If you’re attempting to solve a problem with your phone, insurance policy, satellite serv...

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Questions that will help your business grow

Questions that will help your business grow

Recently, we worked with a respected manufacturing company that was concerned about multiple years of flat growth in a thriving industry. They believed that their products were chosen because they were of the highest quality in the category, but they could not figure out why they weren’t growing. We worked with the company’s leaders on a thorough VALCORT strategic analysis, and as we asked questions of both internal stakeholders and customers around the world, the situation became dramatically ...

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Lift the Fog: Leadership values as the key to growth

Lift the Fog: Leadership values as the key to growth

As an employee, customer, investor, or a competitor, what is the most important thing you can learn about a company?  If you said profitability, market share, operating margin, or the direction of their industry segment, you’d be hitting on strong factors impacting the company’s financial health. But I’d suggest that what you should study mostly intently are not these metrics, but rather the values of the company’s leaders. That’s why we begin our in-depth management and marketing study of a co...

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What difference does it make? The importance of tracking customer response

What difference does it make? The importance of tracking customer response

Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #21 We have specific, consistent ways we collect data and track customer response to every advertising, marketing and sales effort. We use this information to measure our marketing and sales efficiency and effectiveness. For more than 10 years we have been asking executives to rate their companies’ performance in each of 35 best practices. One that is consistently troublesome to companies large and small is #21-- tracking customer response to sales and ma...

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Influencing the influencers through communication

Influencing the influencers through communication

Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth: #20--“Have strong communication with people who can influence a buyer’s decision, based on addressing a buyer’s most important needs.” Think about your last major purchase.  As a business owner, it may have been a piece of equipment or a building. As a home owner or a parent, you may have just purchased a new set of patio furniture to prepare for summer, or a new bicycle for your 10-year-old. Whatever it may be, you did not make the purchase in an informati...

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Resuming the series:  Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth

Resuming the series: Valcort’s 35 Keys to Business Growth

We’re resuming today our writing on Valcort’s 35 keys to business growth, which highlight our comprehensive view of the most important disciplines that companies and organizations will master if they are to consistently succeed.  To help you review the discussions to date, we’ve provided below the links to the articles on the first 19 disciplines. 1.    The Importance of a Vision Statement 2.    What People Believe Matters 3.    Listen (to the Voice of Your Customers)    4.    Why Selling...

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Reaching the people most important to your business

Reaching the people most important to your business

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #19 Continuously evaluate the most effective way to reach each of the different customer groups you serve. The easy part of marketing is to state a crisp, sensible plan for success: Whether we have a product that will be of interest to 10 or 10-million people, the most important task we have is to identify who those people are and how we can reach them with an effective message in the right context. The difficult part is answering each component question of t...

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Get the message?

Get the message?

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #18 Create clear and specific messages targeted to each stakeholder (vendor, employee, shareholder, representative, customer, end user) to help them talk about your company and promote your products and services. Several years ago I accompanied a client, a well-known leader of one of the nation’s largest organizations, to a national television interview on one of the highest-rated news programs of the day. His organization was high profile and was involved in...

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Are you a victim of organizational drift?

Are you a victim of organizational drift?

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth. #17: Have a formal process in place that makes sure that your products and services, your sales approach, and your internal operations all line up with the needs of specific, well-defined customer groups. Slipping on the fins and covering my face with the snorkel and mask, I jumped overboard. The world beneath Baja Mexico’s Sea of Cortez was magical. Surrounded by thousands of silvery fish I was transported 15 feet deep into the center of a fish cloud. I retu...

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7 Steps to Employee Greatness

7 Steps to Employee Greatness

Think about the best job you’ve ever had. Perhaps it’s the one you have now, or it may be many years ago. What was it about your employee experience that made it great? Now, think back to the worst experience you’ve had as an employee (sorry, if this is a painful memory!) The contrast of these bi-polar work situations — and how these experiences inform your role as a manager of employees — provides the grist for a conversation of guiding employees to greatness. We have explored many times on th...

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