Value Acceleration has officially been released! If you’re ready to really empower your sales and marketing process, this just might be the right book for you. Value Acceleration: secrets to building an unbeatable competitive advantage authors’ Mitchell Goozé and Ralph Mroz shared some superb insight into the book and what it aims to address in this interview.
Nettie: Why is this book relevant to senior executives?
Goozé: Most companies (and almost all public companies) need top line growth. Ways to consistently achieve that growth have been hard to find. We believe we have found proven management methods to do this. While they won´t be as much fun as a miracle cure that increases sales with no cost or effort, they will actually work.
Nettie: Tell us about what you hope people will get out of Value Acceleration?
Goozé: What we’d like people to get out of the book is that they really can get accountability and responsibility from their marketing function. They can get alignment between marketing and sales, marketing and new product/service development. How to do this isn’t risky, as there are proven ways to get it done.
Nettie: What is the most misunderstood thing about marketing?
Goozé: That marketing is different from other business activities so that it can’t be managed like other business activities. That’s the biggest continuing misconception.
Nettie: Ralph, the book identifies the rules of competitive advantage — can you describe those?
Mroz: Sure. 1. Competitive advantage goes only to the risk takers. Since the price of doing business is constantly increasing, it follows that competitive advantage goes to those firms that implement new, useful management processes first. When the telephone was a new device, those firms that installed and used the “new” communications technology gained a competitive advantage for awhile. Likewise with lean thinking, those firms that first implemented this manufacturing tool were at an advantage over their competitors, until their competitors caught on. And those firms in the last decade that have implemented structured product development processes are now competing at a considerable advantage over their less well-managed competitors. 2. Initial implementations of a new technique are always sub-optimal. Once something is tried-and-true, it is merely another cost of business, not a source of competitive advantage. Another way of saying this is that corporate losers are always a generation or more behind with respect to their management systems. A corollary to this axiom is that initial implementations of a new technique are always sub-optimal. That is, competitive advantage is the result of embarking on a knowingly imperfect initial implementation. The firms that do so however, have the advantage of honing the new skill while their competitors are just learning it and embarking on their own imperfect initial implementations. 3. Gaining competitive advantage is always painful. It is most painful, if, indeed possible at all, with companies who must play the catch-up game. A company with a culture and management systems that do not encourage the adoption of useful new management techniques not only loses the competitive advantage of implementing the techniques early, but, when it is eventually forced to adopt them, finds it far more painful to do so than for the company where seeking out new ideas is a part of the culture.
Nettie: What would this book provide every CMO?
Mroz: A way to make sure that marketing and the CMO are considered a valuable peer to the other company functions and other C-level executives.
Nettie: What’s the number one challenge that CMO’s face in being treated as a peer?
Goozé:The biggest challenge is history because marketing has traditionally been synonymous with promotion, and in most businesses it can difficult to tie promotional activities directly to results. The increase in “brand” activity was in many ways a method to claim that promotional activities today did not have to produce results today, because, you were “building your brand.” One of our premises is that marketing is much more than promotion, and as the CMO is willing/able to take on that greater responsibility they will become more relevant.
Nettie: The average tenure of CMO’s is unfortunately relatively short, will this book help them fix that?
Goozé: I’d love to tell you yes, but the reality is not immediately. However, if the CMO takes the thought processes and ideas in this book and begins to deploy them it will change how they are viewed in the company, and the results they’re able to achieve. That should extend their longevity and value in the company.
Nettie: Can you talk about how this ties in with the sales process?
Mroz: Since marketing and sales are integrally tied together, just like development and production are tied together, the better job marketing does — the better results sales is going to have. Since we look at the combination of marketing and sales as an integrated process, the thoughts and ideas in this book are just as relevant to VPs and directors of Sales as they are to VPs of Marketing or CMOs.
Nettie: How is this book relevant to CEOs?
Goozé:Since the focus of the book is on the top line of the business and how to improve it, and CEOs in many industries are measured directly by their ability to grow the top line, this book will provide CEOs insight into how to make that a measurable and manageable process in their company.
Nettie: How does this relate to lean process or 6-Sigma?
Goozé: Lean Process and 6-Sigma are two current popular techniques for business process improvement. Business process improvement can be applied to marketing and sales just as it has been applied to other business functions. The whole idea of lean is to remove all non-value added activities from any process. Lean thinking as applied to marketing/sales is focused removing any activities that do not add value. But to do that, you have to understand how marketing connects with other activities in the business including sales and new product/service development. Otherwise you don’t know what is actually value-added or not.
Nettie: Thank you for this great interview. I know that many marketing and sales professionals will surely benefit from this book. If you want to read more on on competitive advantage, you can also see Goozé’s and Mroz’s Changethis.com Manifesto. Look for next week’s Book Roundup to feature some of our own outstanding Allbusiness Advisors and their latest books including Lisa Hanenberg, Denise O’Berry, John Jantsch and Leslie Levine! All great folks – all great books! (By way of full disclosure, Gooze and Mroz are also clients of mine, but don’t let that dissuade you from reading the book!)