Determine the Resources Needed to Achieve Your Goal

This second step refers to the quantity and type of resources you will need to get the job done. It also determines how you will deploy those resources from a viewpoint of how to maneuver by indirect strategy. Yet keep in mind, as Clausewitz points out, that relying only on the “superiority of numbers” is an oversimplification. Rather, determining the required resources to maneuver by indirect strategy would immeasurably improve the chances of success.

In all respects, shrewd management of all assets is required. As shown in the Wal-Mart example, it is the use of the normal and the extraordinary. The normal relates to all those activities you would normally use to market your products and satisfy customers’ needs.

The extraordinary points to those unique—and indirect—strategies that can significantly outstrip those of your rivals. Usually associated with innovative and differentiated products, value-added services, and other components of the marketing mix, they are difficult for even the most aggressive competitors to imitate—at least for the short term.

Extraordinary examples can cover a variety of categories, as long as they fit the definition and criteria of an indirect strategy. Table 1.1 offers a source of ideas by which you can select extraordinary and normal forces to maneuver by indirect strategy.

In battle (competitive confrontations), there are only the normal and extraordinary forces, but their combinations are limitless; none can comprehend them all. For these two forces are mutually reproductive; their interaction as endless as that of interlocked rings. Who can determine where one ends and the other begins.

TABLE 1.1

Selecting the Extraordinary and Normal Forces to Maneuver by an Indirect Strategy

Product/Service

Price

Marketing

Supply-Chain

Leadership/Management

Quality

Features

Options

Applications

Style

Brand, image, reputation

Discounts Allowances Payment period Credit terms Special financing

Advertising: print, broadcast, TV, mobile Social media

Cross-platform publishing

Publicity

Personal selling:

Sales force deployment: Incentives Sales aids Samples Training Sales Promotion:

Webinars Trade shows Events

Demonstrations:

Sampling

Contests

Premiums

Coupons

Manuals

Channels:

E-commerce Direct marketing Distributors/dealers Retail

Market coverage:

Warehouse locations and proximity to customers Inventory control and ordering systems

Caliber of leadership Level of employee morale Quality of training Managerial competence related to mobilizing resources and decision-making ability Level of expertise in planning and developing competitive (indirect) strategy Quality of market and competitor intelligence

TABLE 1.1 (Continued)

Selecting the Extraordinary and Normal Forces to Maneuver by an Indirect Strategy

Product/Service

Price

Marketing

Supply-Chain

Leadership/Management

Packaging

Sizes

Support services

Warranties

Returns

Versatility

Uniqueness

Utility

Reliability

Durability

Patent protection

Guarantees

Telemarketing

Internet

Physical transport and timeliness of delivery

Organizational design related to internal company communications and flow of information through organizational layers to field personnel

Corporate culture related to aggressive or passive behavior toward competitors

Note: To make Table 1.1 into a useful application for your firm, customize the listings in each column by adding or replacing items with those that suit your needs. You will notice that such areas as plant capacity, manufacturing, financial, and technology are omitted. If any fit your definition of direct and indirect, use them. Then select items that qualify as normal and extraordinary forces to shape an indirect strategy.

The essential point is that you cannot achieve any measure of success without devising strategies that artfully coordinate both “the normal and extraordinary forces.” Otherwise, the business suffers the consequences of inching along in a direct, laborious, and resource-draining manner that can only end with marginal or failed performance.

With many calculations, one can win; with few one cannot. How much less chance of victory has one who makes none at all! By this means I examine the situation and the outcome will be clearly apparent.

Sun Tzu

 
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