Business Intelligence

I was reading this article Buckle Up: Appleā€™s Next 3 Years Will Be Insane by Mike Elgan 2:49 pm PDT, Nov 9th 2013, On Cultofmac.com about Apple's business practices.

It reminds me, that regardless of which business we are in, we need to understand the problem space in which we are trying to make a difference. We could think about interactions through the eyes of web design and ask questions like, where are people having difficulties or where are they having less than satisfying experiences? We can ask these sorts of questions in a variety of business endeavors/markets on levels like scripture engagement and our experiences surrounding scripture engagement. We could ask the same type of question about academic and language-based materials. At all levels of inquiry and service delivery, an organization with strategic goals still needs to know: what the market is, and what the market member's pain points are. Additionally an organization needs to have the freedom creatively alleviate those pain points. Just because we can do something doesn't mean it's the right time to do something. Knowing when and how is still very important. By thinking strategically, one can make sure that the tools are in place to respond at the next opportunity. Acting strategically is carrying through with what was planned when the opportunity comes.

Agricola

This past weekend I had the opportunity to play Agricola for the first time. It is an interesting game. I have played it a few times now. Twice with 4 people and twice with 2 people. It takes a while to wrap one’s head around the game play. But once I got it I had to evaluate it. The verdict is in. I would rather play Ticket to Ride than Agricola. Agricola is a great game, don’t get me wrong, it has many intricate plays, and a lot of variety. It is completly a different game as a two player game than it is as a four player game. – it is just that it takes too long to put the pieces back in the box.

Seriously though for the brain strain that it causes (and I enjoy brain strain) I would rather play Ticket to Ride.

Mastering Missions Marketing

Last time it was Missions Masters Marriage… but that didn’t work out as planned. It turned out to be Missions Marriage Masters.

When we think of the term Marketing we might think of a logo, a brand name or some gimmick to make me want something I don’t need. In some circles, especially the non-profit arena Marketing may have a negative connotation. In the context I am talking about here I am going define marketing as intentional effective communication. Effective communication can have some very positive outcomes and covers a wide variety of communication issues and strategies.

    Effective communication implies:

  • Something is being communicated
  • More than one party is involved
  • Meaning is being conveyed
  • An image is being conjured in the mind of the receiver
  • The image being conjured in the mind of the receiver is affirmed or agreed to by the transmitter

As a business professional I need to realize that effective communication can happen. But, if I am not intentional about it, it is not going to happen as often as I want it to happen. This may result in adverse consequences for my business. The point though is that even in non-profit work like missions, to have effective communication one also needs to be intentional about their communication. This intentionalism is strategy.

So what is your communication strategy? Lets ask some of the basic W’s.

  • Who are we trying to communicate to?
  • What are we communicating?
  • How are we going to get them to listen, think and respond to us?

Who
In the non-profit world we have several kinds of people we want to communicate with:

  • the people we want to benefit
  • the people who help us benefit these people; donors, volunteers, employees, colleagues
  • the people watching us, wanting to know what we are doing and why we do it.

We need to be aware of each kind of person and talk to them. But, not just talk to them; engage them.

What
So the What which are we going to tell them might change, but what we are about never changes. So even though we might use different stories, reports, figures, pictures, etc. in communication they should all point to the part of us that never changes. This part of a communication strategy requires a bit of introspection. A core of knowledge of who we are and what we are about, and why we are doing it. It is from this knowledge we get our passion to do what we are doing, and challenge others to become part of what we are doing.

How
How are we going to get them to respond to us? We have to know where they are and how to talk to them. What they are paying attention too, reading watching, listening to, replying to. You can’t engage a person you can’t communicate to. This is were marketing comes in. How am I going to engage people? When I have an answer to How, I will have a communication strategy. The last question I have to answer is: does my strategy achieve the results I want it to achieve? or to put it another way is it an effective strategy? If it doesn’t achieve what I want to achieve,

  • it may be the result of not having a good, well thought through strategy,
  • or it might be the result of not having the right strategy for this group of people (or market).

At the end of the day though, if something is not achieving the desired results; I need to know:

  • What the desired results are
  • What results my strategy is producing
  • Why my strategy is not working

and then I need to make some adjustments to the strategy and apply the new revised strategy.