Building a Market-Focused Organization

Situation – As a result of a series of acquisitions, the business had grown its product portfolio, technology breadth and market presence, establishing a significant foothold in the US, to compliment its position in Europe. In the process, it had transformed itself from a UK-based “Engineering firm” to pursue a position as a European industrial multi-national participating in a range of global markets.

Challenges – A major division with 12 product lines and 8 locations in NA & Europe was pursuing multiple market segments. With 2 large business units and several smaller ones, the division needed to develop and deploy a more integrated business strategy, rationalize and manage its product portfolio. Another challenge was to move to a marketing vs.  sales-driven organization and deploy a product management structure and operating approach. The downturn in the market caused by 9/11 emphasized more selective investment, yet also unleashed some interesting M&A opportunities.

Actions – Rejuvenated product marketing, product line strategies to spur organic growth, inspired global Product Teams, amplifying focus on marketing strategy, voice of the customer, customer value proposition, product lifecyle management; fortified product portfolio, boosting ROI, profitability.

  • Conducted strategic review of the business including competitive analysis and opportunity assessment. Developed standardized strategic planning methodology integrating individual product plans. Devised differentiated product positioning strategy, tactical marketing plans.
  • Created product roadmaps within individual product strategies to improve ROI on $80 M/yr R&D expenditure. Roadmaps combined with priority listing of strategic market opportunities to direct new product development and exploration of new technology.
  • Divested of a profitable, yet non-core business.
  • Revised marketing strategy, including initiation of a distributor partnership, to propel performance within an underserved market and the Aftermarket.
  • Business reorganization allowing integration of product lines, creation of a unified product strategy and prioritized investment to accelerate new product development.
  • Acquisition options were evaluated to add breadth, depth to core product lines. One was executed in a market adjacency, capitalizing on a near-term new product opportunity. Another large, multi-product global business was pursued unsuccessfully.

Results

Marketing Strategy and Product Management Achievements

  • Orchestrated 11% revenue growth. Elevated product marketing strategies, go-to-market plans.
  • Secured $150 M+ new product opportunity, authored business plan, executed $25 M acquisition.
  • Achieved $25 M/yr margin enhancement, reversing sale decline. Reshaped marketing plans.
  • Optimized ROI on $80 M/yr new product development, investment allocation, product plans.
  • Divested business capturing $32 M. Restructured business, unified product line strategy.

Insights gained

  1. Strategic marketing guys come from a different planet, possessing language unknown to most humans.
  2. It is hard to sell a business – profitable or unprofitable.
  3. Reorganization requires foresight and patience – do not steal my cheese.
  4. Strategy without vision leads to lost opportunities, some game-changing.

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