Insurgent Marketing: Plan to Win…By Returning to the Fundamentals

Situation: About five years ago, our client, the world’s premier fast food company, was slipping in terms of real value to shareholders. At its nadir, the company was the lowest in value of any fast food restaurant. The client faced issues on every front: cost—the competition’s dollar menu attracted families on a budget); lifestyle—women in particular were looking for healthy alternatives to a burger and fries, and the company didn’t even offer salads; quality—urban legend had much to say about the quality of the client’s food; and, go-to market process—the company had an onerous system for introduction of new products that caused it to fall far behind its competitors—and gave it a perception of being out of touch with the changing marketplace.

Core Strategy Group’s Approach: Simply, the company needed to stop acting like a big company, and act like an insurgent—it needed to be nimble, responsive, and true to its core values. For this company that translated into remembering one of it’s founder’s mantras—marketing happens inside each individual restaurant. Simply, the company had to communicate the brand through great products in every individual store. We worked with them to develop a “Plan to Win” which advocates a back to basics, disciplined approach to the marketplace grounded in what is important to their customers. We also worked with them to streamline their go-to-market approach, turning a process that took three years into one that takes 48 hours. Importantly, the company also began to confront public perception of its quality directly, not only to fight urban myths, but also to influence public perceptions. We also worked with them to turn one of their biggest challenges—salad—to a resounding success through the introduction of a well-known actor’s salad dressings to its stores. And, the client introduced its own “Dollar Menu” to directly confront similar offerings by its competitors.

Results: About nine months into the Plan to Win, the company had its best performance in history. Today, this company’s owner/operator makes three times more than a Burger King franchisee, and twice that of the competition’s store owner. The Plan to Win is still being used, and its customer base is still growing: it served one billion more customers were served in 2007 than in 2006.

The Core Strategy Group Difference: The problem that most companies face is that while markets have changed fundamentally, the practice of marketing has barely changed at all. Core Strategy Group combines traditional business focused marketing discipline with the aggressiveness and drive of an insurgent strategic model. It is a model built for clarity, speed and impact. This is the new model for companies who are serious about improving their market performance, revenues, share and return on marketing investment. It provides the most effective way for any organization to compete—and win.