Speed: The New Factor of Success

Speed: The New Factor of Success

Speed: The New Factor of Success

The economy, market, and consumer behaviour are all changing at breakneck speed. The pandemic and geo-political conflicts have further accelerated this rate of change. Many companies are finding it difficult to keep pace with such rapid shifts. To do so, the ability to adjust quickly to new circumstances is decisive for success.  


The research institute GfK has proved that since the recession of 2009, 83 per cent of all brands have been steadily declining in terms of brand strength and market share. 17 per cent of brands have reacted more quickly to change processes and have therefore grown stronger. The winning brands have increased their lead since the start of the pandemic.


Therefore, alongside the traditional disciplines of brand management, namely, product policy, sales and communication, the fourth discipline consists of speed management. This is an area that is right at the top of the agenda, whether cooperating with our customers or in our agency group events.


Change processes on three levels


Dramatic changes are taking place on three different levels. First of all, in the economic environment, raw materials, energy and transport costs have soared into high double figures within the space of just one year, while shipping costs have risen by as much as 123 per cent.


Secondly, consumer behaviour has changed enormously. 88 per cent of turnover is generated through omni-channel consumers, who purchase on- or offline, depending on the situation. Purchasing decisions are being made more rapidly. Even in the case of durable household appliances, 30 per cent of purchasing decisions are now made within the same day. In the context of this development, traditional retail trade gets a share of just 59 per cent of the turnover. This means that the flexible omni-channel trading model has become indispensable. Consumers' value dimensions shifted during the pandemic: the demand for sustainable products rose by 36 per cent. Consequently, just as fast as the demand for organic products grew, it declined against the backdrop of the steep price increases over the last few months. This is a good example of how the trends that companies must gear themselves towards can rise and fall so rapidly.


The third level of dramatic change is taking place in companies. Products that have been newly introduced within the last two years account for 70 per cent of all turnover. Companies that launch better product innovations more quickly than anyone else increase their market share. Everyone else loses.


Factors of success in speed management


We have identified best practice in speed management, on which the winning brands base their practices: data management in real time, innovative product policy, dynamic media management, hybrid sales concepts, and the development of stronger, faster cross-functional cooperation.


We asked 50 CMOs in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland how they are reacting to current change processes. All the marketing managers agreed that there were challenges. Nevertheless, progress in the specific development and implementation of best practice in speed management is nowhere near as advanced as is required by the constant pressure of change.


However, there are impressive examples of actual cases where we have helped customers to swiftly recognise and unlock sustainable opportunities for growth.


For instance, there is the case of the Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket division, which supplies more than 40,000 spare parts and tools for private cars, commercial vehicles, and tractors to independent garage workshops all over the world. In view of the explosion in the number of vehicles and vehicle components, and the progress in digitalisation and electrification, repairs are becoming increasingly complex for garage workshops. The solution was to design and launch REPXPERT, the digital service brand and platform. This includes comprehensive services for workshops, for instance, training, personal repair assistance, or digital platforms and applications. The REPXPERT workshop portal was designed and implemented by Plan.Net, the service provider for digital experience and commercial services within the Serviceplan Group. This portal gives garage mechanics faster access to any information or services that they might need. On purchasing Schaeffler products or services, garage workshops are awarded REPXPERT bonus points, which they can redeem against comprehensive repair data, training courses, or equipment for their workshop. In this way, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket helps garage workshops to perform their tasks more quickly and reliably. Meanwhile, using the data acquired, Schaeffler learns how best to adapt products and services to customers' needs.


A further key factor for the success of speed management is that it creates the necessary organisational conditions, both internally and more especially, externally. If one continues to organise one's marketing into divisions – like individual silos – and work with a large number of diverse specialist service providers, without presenting any explanations on one’s interfaces but leaving the client to navigate them alone, it will be impossible to keep up with the sharp increase in the rate of development. In order to be able to respond in a unified, integrated, and prompt manner to the constantly changing market conditions, O2 Telefónica relies on a customised agency model, which the Serviceplan Group has constructed and operates for telecommunications operators. Thus, all marketing and communication services are brought together in a single, well-balanced, integrated, and sensitive unit.


Therefore, there are some good examples of winners in speed management. However, the accumulated demand is huge.


Further insights into the Serviceplan Group and GfK study, plus further examples from practice in the area of speed management are available at: https://www.serviceplan.com/en/lp/speed-management.html.



Authors: Marcus Ambrus, CSO Plan.Net Group, and Barbara Evans, Managing Partner Mediaplus Group

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