- Influencing demand describes the activities of product and brand management, marketing, and sales to convince customers to purchase the organizations products and services so that the organizations business objectives are met or exceeded.
- Another aspect of influencing demand is the requirement for the demand side of the organization to influence the product development and supply sides of the organization to recognize a support actual customer expectation and requirements.
- One iterative process that can be used to ensure that demand-influencing activities are being continually adapted to current situations is to use a structured process such as the plan, do, check, act model.
Plan, do, check, act model
- This model is four-step cycle that incorporates performance measurement, feedback, and re-planning into the processes of planning and executing activities.
- It is a model that can be applied to any process, including the other aspects of the demand management and S&OP integration processes.
- During the plan phase of the demand-influencing cycle, product/brand management, marketing, and sales perform research and develop detailed strategies and tactics for influencing demand.
- The plan should include a budget, a schedule, and a list of tasks assigned to specific individuals for accountability.
- The plan should also set measurable targets indicating the increase in demand that the activities should generate.
- The plans are reviewed and approved prior to the S&OP meetings and are adjusted as needed during those meetings, resulting in commitments to execute a consensus plan.
- During the do phase, product and brand management, marketing, and sales execute the plans.
- Product and brand management professionals launch, manage, and retire products.
- Marketing professionals work to create demand and reinforce the brand value.
- Salesperson work to acquire new customers and retain and develop existing customers.
- Sales and marketing professionals may be required to provide the demand manager with periodic data on their results during execution.
- The marketing and sales managers and the demand manager exercise management and control during this phase by serving as problem solvers and by verifying that the correct activities are occurring.
- During the check phase, the demand manager and/or other demand-side managers review metrics against the plan and document other feedback, such as customer opinions on product pricing, features and customer service levels.
- A key aspect of this phase is to determine the root cause of any differences between plan and actual results, that is, whether they arise from identifiable internal or external factors.
- These activities are performed periodically rather than waiting until the processes are complete.
- Dashboards are common way to track and monitor metrics for demand-influencing activities.
- During the act phase, the demand manager leads the re-planning efforts to respond to variances from the plan and address root cause of the variances.
- Re-planning may call for increased or decreased investments in various activities depending on what is and is not proving effective.
- The re-planning process could be part of the lead up to the monthly S&OP process, or it could be performed more frequently if required. However, many marketing efforts take a long time to show measurable results, so a long term focus is typically necessary.
Using this model allows organizations to control their demand-influencing activities to the fullest extent possible.