Market Research Case Studies
Host Analytics: New differentiated corporate positioning affecting Marketing, Sales, and Product Development
Host Analytics, an emerging leader in financial planning, budgeting, and reporting systems, wanted a better understanding of customer needs, pains, and desires to reposition the firm for a new wave of growth. Historically, the company had been successful positioning themselves as a lower-cost, easier-to-deploy alternative to the market leader. While this was true, as the firm raised its stature, it had an opportunity to tie their story more tightly to customer requirements and priorities. We interviewed CFOs and Vice-Presidents of Finance across industries and company sizes in in-depth, one-on-one conversations. Because core features are well understood in this industry, topics turned to dissecting key priorities of CFOs and how a superior planning system could help them reach personal and company objectives. To gain an even greater level of confidence in our recommendations, we validated conclusions with a quantitative survey. The result is new, compelling, unique Marketing and Sales positioning and guidance about new product-development priorities to help the company compete with larger incumbent players from a position of strength rather than cost reduction.
BlueArc: Target vertical-market selection and tailored, differentiated positioning driving record revenue growth
BlueArc is the world’s #2 provider of enterprise NAS storage systems (i.e. hardware providing large- scale, high-performance digital storage). Prior to our work with the firm, they sold primarily by explaining their superior specifications and performance metrics. As they grew, they realized the potential to accelerate growth by delivering a more tailored. benefits-oriented value proposition. After we analyzed potential vertical markets and gained agreement on targets, we interviewed decision makers in these industries via in-depth, one-on-one conversations. While feature priorities were part of the discussions, the major emphasis was strategic priorities and obstacles these potential customers faced. The result was a series of new, market-specific value propositions serving the unique needs of each market, sales-team training, and a primer for the Sales and Marketing teams on the way these markets function. The resulting tailored positioning was the foundation for a burst of growth resulting in six consecutive record quarters. Approximately two years after our initial project, the firm re-engaged us to repeat our approach with additional vertical markets. Across all markets, Marketing and Sales is armed with tailored, market-responsive pitches resulting in increased credibility, visibility, and success.
Emulex: Tailored, differentiated vertical-market positioning to drive vertical market growth
Emulex is a $300 million public firm and the leading provider of the equipment connecting large computing systems to high-speed networks. Although product specifications are key to their selling, they realized a value proposition tailored to the needs of major vertical markets could speed growth. To build these tailored value propositions, we interviewed decision makers in organizations of various sizes within their highest-priority target markets via in-depth, one-on-one discussions. While feature priorities were part of the discussions, the major emphasis was strategic priorities and obstacles these potential customers faced. Discussions also focused on the real-world value and potential of unreleased new product features. The result was a series of new, market-specific value propositions responding to the unique needs of each market, sales-team training, a primer for the Sales and Marketing teams on the way these markets function, and tailored selling tools.
Change Management and Communications Case Studies
BP: Change Management and Communications, Nationwide
Following a merger with Arco, BP’s employees needed to adapt to both a new work environment and a company undergoing significant cultural shifts. As a result, we provided change management services to inform employees of changes, provide a dialogue for input and questions, and supply tools to ease and educate employees about the new work environment.
As part of the communication and change management engagement, we partnered closely with a select steering committee of BP employees to understand issues and concerns. The team used this feedback to deliver key information about the new work environment to employees through e-newsletters, a display area that described elements of the new office and a series of interactive “Lunch n’ Learn” sessions focused on key topics related to effectively using the new workplace. At move-in, we provided a series of orientation tools to help employees navigate the new organization and work environment.
ENMAX: Change Management and Strategic Communications, Calgary, Canada
As Enmax, a Canadian energy company, privatized and reorganized, we delivered both the development of the workplace design strategy and a comprehensive change management program. The program focused on integrating a culture that had undergone major organizational shifts, such as newly-formed divisions and a desire for an integrated culture. Additionally, the change management program fulfilled the need to teach employees how to operate productively in their new workplace. The program included regular newsletters, a guidebook, a poster campaign, focus groups, and email correspondences to staff.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): Change management and Strategic Communications, Raleigh, NC
GSK engaged us to perform change management and communications services relating to a series of major workplace redesigns. Addressing the organizational issues that arise when work environments are changed and the business is affected, we developed an integrated, multi-channel communications and change management plan guided by four key principles: employee engagement, organizational alignment, knowledge management and two-way communication among management and staff. This on-going communications and change management program included posters, web-site, newsletters, e-mail announcements, an employee handbook, training, and collateral materials.
Real Estate and Workplace Strategy Case Studies
Edwards LIfesciences: Headquarters Campus Plan, Irvine, CA
Edwards Lifesciences retained Performance Works to complete a campus master plan for their headquarters campus in California. The goal of the project was to rethink campus design and how employees used and moved through the campus to improve corporate performance. The timeframe for the study addressed three, five and ten year planning horizons.
The recommendations contributed to Edwards’ core mission of encouraging innovation without significantly increasing required resources. The campus plan also provided a long-term tool for managmenet by reflecting the growing demand for services and infrastructure.
County of Alameda: Mobile Work Program, Social Services Agency, Alameda, CA
The Alameda County Social Services Agency engaged Performance Works to assess the viability of a mobile work program to help the County achieve its mission of improving the economic and social well being of individuals, families and communities.
The Alameda SSA was struggling to maintain its standard high level of service in a climate that consisted of increasing caseloads, decreasing budgets, changing staff demographics and an increasing desire to focus on the environment. Within this context, a goal to enhance customer service, improve productivity, and better utilize resources was the driving force behind this project.
The project resulted in a 50% reduction in real estate expense while providing verifiable improvements in customer service and employee satisfaction.
Organizational Performance Case Studies
County of Los Angeles: Governance Review and Recommendations, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County shifted its management structure from a Chief Administrative Officer model to a Chief Executive Officer model. Approximately one year after the change, to both fulfill the ordinance initiating the transition and ensure County leadership understood emerging implications, the County undertook a project to assess progress and challenges. Performance Works worked with County leadership, including elected County Supervisors, the Chief Executive Officer and his team, department heads, and rank and file employees. The team analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate progress and recommend operational and organizational improvements to support County goals.
County of San Bernardino: Governance Study, San Bernardino, CA
With the engagement of a new Chief Administrative Office (CAO) for the County, the Board of Supervisors asked Performance Works to conduct a performance audit of County operations. We worked with the Board offices,Department heads to understand performance challenges and opportunities for structural, cultural and behavioral change. Additionally, we conducted external research of other County structures in California as benchmarks of other possible governance models. Our resulting recommendations, endorsed by the chief executive and his team, included cultural, operational, and organizational improvements.
California Department of Motor Vehicles: Strategic Plan, Statewide
The California Department of Motor Vehicles us to evaluate satisfaction with department services and make recommendations ranging from real estate expansion to office design to operational practices. The project involved qualitative and quantitative analysis of interviews, survey data, and focus groups with both department employees and citizens using department services across California. The recommendations led to operational improvements across the state and as notably, a shift away from investing in new field offices and towards alternative service delivery channels resulting in significant cost avoidance for the agency.