Streamline & Strategize
This post was initially published here: http://accpl.co/writings/streamline-strategize/
There’s an analogy in technology about how reconfiguring a strategy when a product is already in market is like changing the wings on a plane mid-flight. We at Accomplice are fairly undaunted by complicated feats of execution, so working alongside SearchDex to help them reorient, streamline, and strategize was a great fit for us.
SearchDex’s mission has been unwavering since the day they opened their doors in 1996 – to connect the top internet retailers with the customers searching for their products. Although the way in which that mission is technically achieved has changed over time, SearchDex still stands as an industry leader because of their internal mindshare; the expertise that comes from years of having their boots firmly on the ground.
Without a holistic approach, real change is hard to make.
When we began working with SearchDex, our focus was on helping them to leverage all those years of experience and expertise to reposition themselves strategically. The organization was exploring a lot of interesting new paths to growth, and Accomplice came in to help them research and explore those paths. We honed in on the exact customer base that would provide them with the most new opportunity, and then helped craft a new product offering that would appeal to those customers, as well as provide some striking differentiators in an increasingly crowded marketplace. We did that by crafting a new product strategy based on internal audits as well as a landscape-wide look at their industry. That helps us to answer two fundamental questions: where are you presently and how do you compare to your competitors?
Once we had developed an actionable strategy, we then needed to take into account something that every organization has – internal constraints. Sometimes those are financial, sometimes it’s time, and sometimes it’s a lack of resources, but for us at Accomplice, this is where the creative problem solving comes into play. Any creator will tell you, constraints are motivating and orienting – something for your brain to push up against when trying to solve for the X factor. There are a million solutions to any problem, you just have to be willing to shift your problem set from side to side, looking at it from different angles.
SearchDex needed to be able to effectively pivot and execute on their new strategy without interrupting the product and service offerings their current clients were paying for. Because the in-market products needed to be maintained, we also couldn’t put an undue burden on the internal resources that were doing that work.
This became both an operational and logistics exercise, beginning first with an audit of their internal people resources to identify who was critical in maintenance for their current clients, and then reallocating the remaining people power to begin implementing their new strategy. Mostly what this requires is a heavy dose of realism and meticulous planning – both of which are essential assets when crafting any rollout plan.
But the most critical aspects of our partnership with SearchDex were both our ability to hop down into the trenches with them, and their willingness to allow us to dig in and have access to all areas and aspects of their organization, and that can be daunting. Without a holistic approach, real change is hard to make. But real change leads to real outcomes that are both sustainable and scaleable. And real change is what we’re going for, because superficial isn’t our style.