Top Economic Forecaster Recommends Customer Research as Top Priority
I recently attended another outstanding presentation by ITR Economics, the oldest independent economic advisory firm in North America. ITR is known as the most accurate forecaster (over 94% accuracy in the past 20 years) - http://itreconomics.com/our-calls, but what really distinguishes them to their audiences is the way they provide specific recommendations for businesses and strategists based on where we are in the economic cycle.
This year, the general recommendations are outstandingly upbeat for both Canada and US, with expectations of better than average growth rates coupled with low inflation for the next 3 to 5 years, followed by a recession coincident with the point in time that the US debt collides with increasing interest rates, around 2018. (ITR is very bullish long term on the Canadian dollar based on our financial prudence and positive demographics vs. Europe).
With interest rates set to hold for a few more years, ITR recommends that we ensure we are making maximum use of available debt capital while locking in costs long term. The question is how to employ this capital to generate a strong future cash flow and more loyal clients to protect your firm during a recession.
The final slide of the presentation is always Mr. Beauleiu's top recommendations. All of his top 5 recommendations would recommend that every company must intensify their stakeholder management, specifically deeper understanding of the customer experience.
1. Positive leadership modelling - Culture becomes the behaviors you seek.
2. Invest in customer market research (see 3 through 5)
3. Training programs
4. Review and uncover competitive advantages.
5. Invest in new producs, marketing and advertising.
Executing on 3 through 5 effectively and quickly can be achieved by implementing operationally intense customer and employee engagement intiatives. Infact, comprehensive stakeholder engagement is the ideal approach to driving this strategic thinking.
This is exactly the business of Acceleration Strategy Inc. Every successful company is unique even within their industry. We recommend aligning your strategy and your culture (the expectations & behaviours of your customers and employees) then implementing the appropriate program to achieve your strategic realization sooner and with greater effect. Our closed loop and reinforcement loops ensure that all investments in customer and stakeholder experience are designed to drive operational and relationship improvements across the enterprise, while generating strategically significant insights. Having a shared view of the insights and customer priorities allows the enterprise to make well aligned investments and actions with greater speed and confidence.