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Case study : Madonna

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Ritchie is a dynamic entrepreneur who has succeeded in a competitive industry. How has Madonna achieved her success? And why should we care? Because the five dimensions of her successful strategy are equally important to success in the business world.
Vision. One of the most important drivers of Madonna’s success has been her vision, held since high school, of becoming the world’s foremost female performer. Firms too must have a vision of where they want to go and how to get there. Similarly, managers who are unsure of their career goals frequently miss opportunities.
Understanding customers and industry. It is clear that Madonna’s successes have been underpinned by a deep and insightful appreciation of her customers and understanding of the music industry. Madonna was one of the world’s first artists to bring the focus-group approach to the music industry. In mid-2005 she partnered with DJ and producer Stuart Price to test tunes (without vocals) in clubs from Liverpool to Ibiza. The reaction of the dancers was filmed and used to determine the tracks for Confessions on a Dance Floor. She has also realised the need to partner with the key industry players such as MTV and is a skilled self-publicist. To get ahead in an increasingly competitive and global world, companies must also develop a keen understanding of their customers and industries.
Leveraging competences, addressing weaknesses. Another important element in Madonna’s success has been her ability to acknowledge her own competences and weaknesses. Very early in her career Madonna realised that neither her dancing nor voice were strong enough on their own, so she teamed up with people who could help her, including Michael Jackson’s manager, Freddie de Mann. Similarly, companies and managers need to think about developing the skills and contacts that they need to ensure future success.
Consistent implementation. Madonna isn’t the product of any music company her success is down to sheer hard work. Most of her entertainment interests have been owned or operated by her own companies. Likewise in industry, compiling strategy or setting targets is easy, the difficulty is in implementation.
Continuous renewal. The frequent reinvention of Madonna’s style and sound has reflected an acute awareness of changing styles, social norms and attitudes in a rapidly changing industry. Likewise companies and individuals who are one-trick ponies can expect market or career derailment unless they are able to renew and reinvent themselves.
This is a precis of Entrepreneurs on a Dance Floor, by Jamie Anderson and Martin Kupp, in the London Business School magazine Business Strategy Review (Winter)

source : The Times