By September 21, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Have you Tested Your Strategy In a Business War Games Workshop?

Have you Tested Your Strategy In a Business War Games Workshop?

Business War Games workshops simulate competitive behaviors in any marketplace and test the likelihood of your strategy’s success or failure. Whether you are an established business, start-up or entrepreneur, this is a low-risk approach to testing your strategy.

Think of it like flight simulators for strategic planning -  offering you the benefit of seeing your plans in action without the costly risks of an unforgiving marketplace.

At a high level, Business War Games development considerations include: establishing clear objectives, defining your market, establishing competitive teams, researching competitive activity prior to the workshop and facilitation of the actual war game workshop.

To understand a market’s competitive dynamics, a war-gaming workshop requires at least one market competitor, focuses on a specific industry and includes cross-functional teams and if the scenario is appropriate, may include customers.

Competitive teams receive a briefing document prior to the workshop and their efforts are guided at understanding, planning and developing their own strategies to potentially circumvent a company’s strategic success. Business war-gaming workshops range in length from half-day workshops to five-day workshops.

Below are five competitive market scenarios where entrepreneurs and managers should consider a business war game, along with some compelling examples:

When you have a strong desire to increase strategic thinking capabilities

Strategic planning efforts often focus on market reports and spreadsheets with less effort anticipating the impact of strategic decisions on competitor or customer behaviors. In situations where managers gather evidence to support their hypotheses and interpret data in a potentially biased way, a war game workshop allows your team to discover holes in a strategy.

Conducting Business War Games will enhance your marketers’ abilities to determine successful marketing strategies.

Business War Game workshops: offer a unique methodology to enhance critical thinking skills, yet they are not precise either; will compliment, yet will not replace market research, brand planning, or other types of analysis; assist managers in anticipating and responding to threats in their environment; and are beneficial to any organization with a strong desire to gain clarity and prepare for competitive reactions to their strategic decisions.

For example, a pharmaceutical company used this process for a new product as a means to launch their own in-house market intelligence function with great success. This process provided the new business intelligence leader access to all commercialization members in a forum where everyone improved strategic thinking skills and the new market intelligence team became part of the commercialization function overnight.

When you need to confirm customer support for a new strategy

Every business needs new customers, but don't ever forget that your easiest and most predictable source of new revenue is right under your nose: It comes from the loyal customers who already know your company.  It is important to place effort behind new business development, but keeping your current customers is just as important.  In 2003, Blockbuster unveiled a new strategy to capture market share: no late fees on movies. An aggressive ad campaign followed, letting the world know that Blockbuster had rescinded their late fees. Blockbuster is now out of business.

When you need to gain customer insight on competitive issues

Quite frankly, there is always a need to gain customer insight on competitive issues to anticipate market shifts and create sound strategies. A marketer must always be looking for early signals about changes in market behavior or weak imbalances from power shifts.

If the market shifts, what will competitors do to maintain customer position or change the balance of power in the new world and how will your new strategies dislodge this shift? A key focus for workshop simulations is to ask the question, if you were the competitor, how would you attack their strategy?

When your company’s strategy is examined from a competitive perspective, it is truly surprising to see the results. An example was a pharmaceutical company with a strong position in the market with knowledge of a smaller competitor with a minor presence in the market had just received marketing approval for a new product indication and would be expanding their promotional efforts to leverage the product’s new capabilities.

Executives gained clarity of their competitor's current growth strategy and how potential new strategies would impact their market share with subsequent strategies to counteract their competitor’s success.

When you plan a new product

Developing a new product marketing strategy is one of the most challenging and exciting aspects of launching a new product. How will your new product increase market share in an established market? A few years ago, not every person owned an iPod, and other companies still believed that they had a shot at snaring customers for portable mp3 players.

SanDisk manufactured their own in 2006, the e200, and their strategy was to launch the “iDont” campaign, which depicted users of the iPod as conformist drones and labeled them “iSheep” and “iChimps.” How many of you own a SanDisk mp3 player today?

When pending government legislative changes impacts you

Prepare yourself for the unexpected by reviewing all areas of your business including operations, finances and marketing. Consider Political, Economic, Sociological and Technological (PEST) analysis here and consider large scale shifts as well as small scale shifts in how business is done.

For example stay current with market changes in trends and regulations that could have an impact on your business success. An example is the 1991 PanAm international airline collapse as a result of increased global competition that came with deregulation. Utilize war games to understand the impact of current changes and how these changes will affect your products or services.

Business War Games workshop outcomes afford an early understanding of how your competitors will react to your strategies or identification of strategic oversights.  From here, companies develop corrective actions for a more appropriate strategy and develop and enhance winning strategies with a clear plan of action

Is a Business War Games workshop right for you?

Business War Game workshop simulations can be developed and executed for any industry.  Business War Games workshops offer a low risk role-playing method to test your strategies.

If your company is faced with launching a new product, making a high-stakes decision, gaining creative insight to advance beyond competitors, changing government legislation, needs to confirm and gain support for a strategy with customers or has a strong desire to improve strategic thinking within your company, then you will benefit from a Business War Games workshop.

About Dave Bard

Dave Bard is Managing Director of Bard Consulting Group (BCG), a strategic marketing and training consultancy committed to improving clients' strategic decision-making and product performance within an emphasis on the healthcare industry.

Post a Comment