Strategic Business Planning that’s Consumer Intelligence based
Halal today is big business. Spanning from food, to fashion, to finance and pharmaceuticals, more and more organisations, medium sized businesses and independent entrepreneurs are scrambling for a piece of the USD2 trillion market (as estimated by the global consulting group AT Kearney).
What drives their interest is purely the huge population numbers that the global Muslim segment offers. At first look, whilst the population numbers may justify venturing into this consumer segment, what’s vital is:
- To know where the consumers with high-purchasing power are (geographical location)
- To have absolute clarity in understanding their psyche and, thus, their specific needs.
This consumer segment, at 23% of the global population, whilst very appealing numerically, is a segment (unlike others), that needs massive amount of logical & emotional knowledge in order to bring about brand engagement. Only through well planned brand engagement (and perseverance) can profitability come about for an organisation in this segment.
The key difference of this global consumer segment is that its needs cannot be fulfilled with the old-fashioned “one-style fits all” business and marketing approach. The emotional needs of this segment change dramatically as one uses the age, income and cultural filter and this has to be taken into account whilst developing the strategic business plan, as it has far reaching implications in the operating costs for an organisation as well as in ensuring revenue generation.
To aid and assist organisations (interested or already in this consumer segment), in their strategic planning endeavours, here’s the “N.O.W” approach. N.O.W. is a simple 3-step consumer-centric and consumer intelligence based business strategy development module:
1. N: NEED (to know)
- Category: Understand the category (within the overall Halal industry) that you are operating in, with regards to the mandatory halal regulations, sharia compliance, governance requirements and category turnover.
- Consumer: identify clearly, in detail, who is the consumer. Their likes, dislikes, needs & wants, shopping behaviour and media usage habits. Use age segmentation to obtain social media usage habits. Identify, professional and personal, interest based social media groups that the target consumer is involved with.
- Communities: identify physical, interest based, communities and social media communities the consumer is interacting and participating in.
- Competition: identify what is the current product used, benefits of the product, its’ marketing process and availability.
This is the “keystone’ of the process. There are no shortcuts to obtaining this consumer knowledge. In-depth research is a must (and preferably by professional market research firms) in order to obtain as much information as possible so as to help identify, clearly, the most potential consumer segments and markets.
2. O: OBJECTIVE ( what do you want to achieve)
- Goal setting: Clearly enumerate the objectives of the business, within a certain timeline and against clearly identified consumer target groups, in order to have focus for each set goal.
Once the consumer and competition has been mapped out i.e. one knows who we want to sell to, what do we want to sell, how to sell it and what benefit it would provide the targeted consumer vis-à-vis what he/she is using currently, then it’s time to review the business objective and set achievable and measurable goals as key objectives.
The business objectives should, ideally, be a combination, of logic (i.e. turnover, income figures, customer satisfaction percentage target, referral target, associate/partners percentage increase in business transaction volume etc.) and emotion (i.e. emotional benefit that the brand would serve, customer usage, blog membership by customers/partners/ associates, employee projection of brand image etc.)
3. W: WIN ( map out the strategy for achieving the goals)
- Against each objective:
- Identify the specific target consumer group.
- Map their needs and media habits.
- Put the product and its benefits and evaluate against the target consumers’ needs and competitive product available in the market.
- Draw up individual tactics for market availability of your product in order to be available, easily, to your targeted consumer group.
- Re-view target consumers media habit and detail out your product communication.
With the steps 1 & 2 in place ideate and write down the most effective strategy against each business objective. How will you know which is the most effective strategy? Evaluate each strategy to see if it delivers successfully against the needs of the targeted consumer segment and provides a clear benefit over any competitive product.
Once the strategy is in place, develop the tactical activity necessary to have it executed. Each strategic direction should have a tactic or planned activity, within a timeline, to deliver the objective. Against each of these activities put in the cost for that activity vis-à-vis expected return (i.e. ROI). This will provide the benchmark for evaluating if the activity is financially viable and profitable. If not, then review and identify a fresh new tactic.
Against each tactic, whilst detailing it out (as a project map) implement a timeline in order to be able review and course-correct. This will aid you to manage as you implement each tactic in order to deliver against the strategy and achieve the objectives set.