Serendipity with a plan is one of my basic tenets. The reality is that if you research your market, position your efforts, and put in the hard work required to become agile, you will be able to react in a productive way when customers tell you what they want. If you can rapidly respond to their improvements, it will make you more successful than your competitors and this advantage will be cumulative.
While easy to describe, this is not easy to do. Corporate infrastructures naturally avoid risk and are change averse. Stakeholders are comfortable with guaranteed Return On Investment (ROI) analysis. The planning and the preparation that I advocate lays in a flight path (the guidance) but it cannot accurately predict the exact result. The exact path comes from my "follow the customer" strategy. You can never exactly predict what the customer will want in absolutes. Do not spend months in large committee meetings debating the internal opinions of what customers might want. That inertia is a failure because everyone just has personal opinions; None of you are customers.
After you have quickly done your research scan and commited to your first approach, your customer will hopefully choose something in your flight path. If not, your basic research is probably flawed. You can usually convince stakeholders to begin by approving your initial attempt and they will warm to the "follow the customer" strategy as you have evidence to show results. Get past this initial inertia as quickly as possible and start offering, watching, and listening to the real customers.
Each time you rapidly listen, measure, and respond faster than your competition, you will quickly distance your company or your services from your competitors. This will differentiate your brand and build equity for ease of use in the minds of your customers.
That differentiation will be perceived as "vision" over time. People will ask you questions like, "How did you know that this would be successful?". The answer is that you did your scan of your markets or services; took your best shot at providing a good solution; listened closely to what the customers really wanted; and rapidly evolved to what they really want.
Pull that altogether and you get: "Plan For Serendipity; It Can Make You Brilliant!". Good things do happen when you put in the hard work.
This Web site is aimed at capturing some of the basic concepts I use when creating integrated marketing programs and leveraging the internet.
Phil Gibson ©2016