Book – Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

bookWonderful book – beside major strategy advice, the book has many seemingly little recommendations that can be very useful.

The biggest advice is simple and seemingly very hard for many organizations: there are many good strategies for a specific company and market  – there is no “perfect strategy.”  However, one needs to be chosen.  Strategy is a choice… This choice need to be made – and communicated to the organization.  That is it.

  1. What is our winning aspiration? (purpose of the business)
  2. Where will we play?  (Industries, regions, intermediaries)
  3. How will we win?  (Connected with “Where will we play” – how the aspiration in the chosen “where” can be achieved?
  4. What capabilities must be in place?
  5. What management systems are required?

Interesting: The “strategy” can also be applied to an individual department of the organization, which can create its own strategy serving internal customers.  For example: P&G considered understanding of the customer as an essential strength and a competitive advantage.  The research department had its own strategy based on the company’s approach.  It outsourced all “standard” research and developed expertise in unique and industry-specific research.

Understanding of the consumer was the main strength and competitive advantage of P&G.  Razor product developer did not understand why would he need to go to India for two weeks to study shaving habits of Indian men, when so many Indian men could be found relatively close to the research facility.   After spending some time in India, the product developer changed his mind – and designed the razor specific for Indian environment on a napkin while flying back from India.  the most significant insight came from the realization that shaving environment is different – while Western men shave with the availability of the running warm water, Indian men often had only a cup of cold water available for the task.  The new razor was designed to work better without easy availability of running water.

Arguments about different approaches:  useful not to discuss approaches in general, but state “what needs to be true for this approach to be viable” – in this case the discussion is switched into a more productive route.

Communication of the company’s strategy to the organization – the clearer the better.  The strategy needs to be clear and simple for all of the company’s employees (considering that English is a second language for many people in international companies).  The strategy also need to be easy to remember for employees.

Interesting – I did not find any fear that communicating the strategy to employees can alert the competition… 😉

Eloqua Users Group – Reports


Ah – as Erin correctly pointed out…  most of us are truly intimidated by Insights…  and we are having a hard time getting insights our of Eloqua Insights.  I think, I am starting to understand why…  Insights are built on the BI premise, rather than a specific tool with the sole purpose of a very narrow goal.  Though the idea makes sense, BI platforms are too complex for the typical user of email marketing and automation reports…  and the time is yet to come when most of the audience have Close Loop reporting setup. Ah – in many cases, we are still struggling with basic  integration issues.

If metric won’t change how you behave – it is not a metric worth reporting

BI origin probably explains the complexity of the Prompt…  it looks much closer to Crystal reports and Google Analytics 🙂


Data visualization best practices were also mentioned.  Data visualization topics have been present on three events presented by three different professional associations during last three months – the topic seem to be raising in popularity.

Interesting:  Insights uses “Attributes” instead of “Dimensions” used by Google Analytics.


Another interesting point was the full dethroning of the Open Rate – yes, I agree!  Maybe I can remove it from my reports also…  It was also removed from the testing reports – thanks to a smart member of my team.


Good source on the inter-workings of Insights is Topliners



Though Eloqua Insights is the tool to extract metrics from Eloqua, I would still supplement it  with other data and use other display mechanism, as Insights do not seem to be sufficiently flexible.   Actually, it reminded me Omniture from a few years ago 🙂