Using Your IDAC Score To Find Your Value Proposition “Tall Head”

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As you learned in our earlier Rainmaker Protege Course session, IDAC scoring can be used to identify a valid development strategy or tactic for your line of services or products.


There is one other aspect of IDAC scoring that I want to throw into the mix,

In his book about “The Long Tail” Chris Anderson wrote a theory that is a sensation to marketing wannabe’s everywhere. The frictionless environment of the internet has spawned a whole new breed of marketers. Look for example at David Rees, a professional pencil sharpener in upstate New York by visiting his website at Artisanal Pencil Sharpening.

Rees used to get $35 each just for sharpening #2 pencils. He was averaging around a thousand pencils a year, plus selling a book teaching pencil sharpening as well as teaches classes on pencil sharpening, Because of the time demand to do a quality pencil sharpening project, Rees now charges $500 per pencil. I have no idea of his current volume.

A perfect example of Anderson’s Long Tail.

But, some folks, such as Anita Elberse, Professor of Marketing at Harvard University, question the interpretation of Anderson’s theory. A few had the good sense to use actual research to try and explain the fallaciousness of total reliance on his writings.

I’ll explain.

The “Long Tail” is the far end of a Logarithmic Curve, where the end of the curve nearest the vertical axis projects upward to infinity, and the curve slopes downward as it extends away from the vertical axis, slowly approaching the horizontal axis as it approaches infinity, but never touching the axis.

Anderson posited that because of limited resources, normal marketers were all clustered near the vertical axis, trying to sell a lot of a few different items, but modern marketers were targeting the “Long Tail,” attempting to sell a few of many different items.

Well, that may work for marketers like Amazon who live in a frictionless world of marketing, and who, because location of inventory is no longer a factor, can carry a large variety of inventory.

Or, it may work for someone like our pencil sharpener, David Rees, whose local market is limited, but whose worldwide market is sufficient for one person to earn a modest income.

However, you, the lone practitioner (I’m seeing you wearing a mask and riding a giant white stallion toward your target market, right about now), may not have the benefit of a frictionless marketing and distributed channel of distribution at your disposal. I know, you’ve got a website up and you can electronically serve clients anywhere, but does that give you a Competitive Advantage?

I think not.

There are ninety-seven gazillion other practitioners, just like you, trying to reach all those prospects out there on the Long Tail.

That, my friend, is where the fallacy of the Long Tail comes in.

To explain, we need to look at an example from the Apple iTunes library sales reports. In 2007, 24 percent of the nearly 4 million songs available on iTunes sold only one copy each, and that was probably a test sale by the creator. The big news is that 91 percent of the tunes sold less than 100 copies each, while Pareto’s distribution came into play and the remaining millions of sales were racked up by a mere nine percent of the tune inventory!

As a small, local, practitioner, you probably only have the resources that will support a few market segments. There’s no way in Sam Hill that you have the resources to serve one or two clients in each of eight hundred and seventy-six niches or specializations. Heck, I’m not sure even KPMG can efficiently do that!

You, my friend, need to find a market segment near the head of the curve rather than the tail. You need a blockbuster, a service that will have a significant number of prospects and one that you can dominate. You need to be at the “Tall Head” of the curve, and that’s what we’re going to look for using your IDAC Scores and some of your practice information.

So, first of all, we’ve got to find out your ability to compete in your market. You can start by downloading and completing the Rainmaker IDAC “Tall Head” Analysis Worksheet.

Think of this worksheet as a way to determine what capabilities a service requires, and whether a capability contributes to the value of the services you offer.

First, select a half dozen services with the highest IDAC Scores, and list them in the column on the left side of your IDAC Tall Head Analysis Worksheet. Also note which quadrant of the Value-Performance Matrix they fall into.

Next, at the top of the columns across the worksheet, list the names of the resource capabilities that are used in the delivery of your services to your market.

There’s a bit of an art to identifying your practice capabilities.

What you are wanting to identify are the capabilities that give you a competitive advantage. While we’ll get into that later in the course, at this point, right now you just need to make some best guesses.

What you want to list are capabilities that your competitors will find it difficult or expensive to duplicate, or find substitutes for.

Common types of valuable resources and competitive capabilities that you should list include:

  • A specialized skill or expertise — examples include skills in low-cost operations, proven capabilities in innovative services, cutting-edge technological capabilities, expertise in getting new services to market quickly, and expertise in providing consistently good customer service.
  • Valuable physical assets —such as state-of-the-art software and equipment, attractive locations, or knowledge management systems.
  • Valuable human assets and intellectual capital —an experienced and capable workforce, talented employees in key areas, collective learning embedded in the organization, or proven know-how in the delivery of key services.
  • Valuable organizational assets —proven quality control systems, proprietary technology, patents, and a strong referral network.
  • Valuable intangible assets —a powerful or well-known name or strong client loyalty.
  • Competitively valuable alliances or cooperative ventures —alliances or joint ventures that provide access to valuable technologies, specialized knowhow, or geographic and industrial markets.

Once you have identified and listed the key capabilities involved in the success of your most valuable services, your next step is to put a simple checkmark in the box at the intersection of the row and column that identify your service and a particular capability.

Once you have done that, count the checkmarks in each column and place the total at the bottom.

Compare the capabilities that are called upon the most, against the Value-Performance Quadrant and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you’ll see where certain capabilities match up with specific successes, and others with specific weaknesses.

Once you have completed this analysis, you can design services or products that capitalize on your strengths and key capabilities.

Enter this information into your TOWS matrix audit as an Internal Strength or Weakness, depending upon your relative scores.

Next, we’ll start analyzing your competitors, real and imagined.

Join us here at Practice Builder Publishing and become a part of the community, whether you become a contributing author, a peer recruiter, or merely a raving devotee of the Practice Builder Publishing resources, I'll work with you personally so you can reach the goals you set.

Best to you and yours,




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