Disrupting the operating model for emerging companies

We are our choices. Build yourself a great story." 

-Jeff Bezos

Emerging companies are disrupting industries from food and beverages to health and beauty to fintech, with growth across categories fueled by startup brands taking share from incumbents. In response, larger companies are forced to emulate lean startup principles or pay a premium to buy these challengers. At the same time, emerging companies face their own distinctive challenges to scale their business models and sustain their distinctive cultures.

This blog is written for both audiences. It focuses on how those on either offense and defense can accelerate their progress towards building a more customer-driven operating model and culture. But rather than focus on the role of technology and data analytics to power innovative customer experiences, this blog addresses how you can take advantage of a more flexible and open approach to talent to realize your business outcomes more quickly and cost effectively.

Much has been written about lean startups and how they can “ride on others’ rails” as they tap into the cloud and open innovation models. But there’s more to the story. Emerging companies - whether private-equity owned, VC-backed or a family-run business - can also tap into new ways of attracting the right talent, forging effective collaboration for enterprise agility, and building a more customer-driven culture. Rather than focus just on insourcing strategic talent and leveraging low code and the migration to the cloud as you build new capabilities, accelerate your value story further through fractional executive roles, freelance talent, and co-innovation with strategic partners for mar-tech and data analytics. Let’s address each of these opportunities further in turn.

Fractional Executive Roles

Becoming more customer-driven is a team sport, bringing together the talent and energy of a multidisciplinary team across marketing, sales, service, technology, analytics, culture and change management. So even if your company adds a new C-level position such as Chief Digital Officer, Chief Experience Officer, or Chief Customer Officer, to name a few roles that are getting a spot on the executive team, there is still a need to foster effective collaboration and pursuit of shared goals. In some cases, a fractional role may make sense rather than a full-time role to augment your existing leadership team and provide additional bandwidth to coach and support your broader team to raise their game together. This may be especially true during transitional periods where the leadership capacity of the team is stretched, and you are looking to develop high potential talent to grow into more senior leadership roles and see investment in an additional fractional executive role as an interim solution.

Freelance Talent

The gig economy has been around before Uber, Airbnb, and other well-known disruptors made their mark on their respective markets. Creative-driven businesses have been using freelance talent for years, with the share of roles filled by freelancers increasing steadily in industries such as video games, media and entertainment, advertising, and marketing services. As companies have shifted to more hybrid and remote work, their ability to tap into freelancers as part of their talent model has increased. Taking a fresh look at your talent model and how roles that require skills in areas like human centered-design, data science, and agile product management can be filled through the right combination of full-time, freelance, agency and other services partners is key to scale your investments in CX more efficiently and effectively. Your playbook for how your extended team works together should include a mix of these roles from those inside and outside your organization. 

Co-Innovation with Strategic Partners

Becoming more customer-driven requires building a stronger culture of experimentation. The pace of change for marketing technology (mar-tech) and how it can be applied to deliver more personalized and data-driven experiences along the customer journey is hard to keep up with, even with the best talent on your extended team. Winning at this game requires a more intentional and strategic approach for how you collaborate with a focused network of technology and services companies. Running a proof of concept is not enough. You need a repeatable and scalable approach to managing experiments with these partners to drive a continuous insights-to-action loop.

JourneySpark Consulting and GK5A are excited to join forces with clients to help them tap into their full potential to become more customer-driven and accelerate their growth story. We’re looking forward to your feedback and continuing the conversation about these opportunities. Please reach out to either Matt Egol at JourneySpark Consulting or Greg Kihlstrom at GK5A to start a conversation!