Lodestar’s ability to not only reach, but engage with, extremely hard to reach decision-makers was impressive. We are talking Chief Technology Officers, Chief Financial Officers, and Chief Actuarial Officers in the largest healthcare organizations in the country. Many of the interviews, scheduled to go 15 minutes, went 45 or 60. That says something about the bandwidth and industry chops of Lodestar’s people. And, their final presentation on the buyer’s journal for advanced analytics software has had enormous influence on our product management, R&D, and sales strategies over the last couple of years.
Here’s what some of our clients have to say about working with Lodestar.
What impressed us most was the interdisciplinary approach Lodestar took in helping us understand how we could most effectively go-to-market with our new compliance management and risk mitigation offering and sell to C-Suite executives in large government contracting organizations. In all the initial planning and certainly at the end in several key presentations and planning sessions, there were not just senior market researchers in the room, but marketing strategists, innovation specialists, and people with deep technology and industry expertise – all working in tandem to deliver a solution that otherwise would not have been possible.
Over the last three years Lodestar has helped us think through what innovation inside a large CPA firm means and how it can best be approached. They have helped significantly strengthen our planning, R&D processes, and go-to-market strategy performance.
We asked Lodestar to test several new product/service concepts for us. They executed that part superbly. But, what really impressed our entire team was that they used the in-depth interviews and focus groups they conducted to also provide us with a detailed assessment of our overall go-to-market performance in absolute terms and in comparison to our key competitors. Unexpected, noteworthy, and value-added – they became trusted advisors to us over the course of a day-long action planning session.
The Lodestar team delivered some difficult to listen to news with diplomacy, professionalism, humor, and an unrelenting stream of evidence: contrary to what many of us thought, we were doing a lousy job as a company in effectively managing and leveraging our business intelligence. They also gave us a detailed game plan for solving that problem and strengthening performance over time. I highly recommend them. Lodestar understands the human and cultural aspects of effective information management, which is a refreshing change.
What we value most in Lodestar is that regardless of the particular assignment we give them, in the end we don’t just get data or a report thrown at us, but rather an in-person presentation by a principal of the firm that focuses on key findings, their assessment of the implications, and concrete recommendations. For Lodestar, research is always only a means to a larger end – moving the performance needle.
Lodestar has helped us assess the effectiveness of three brand-building campaigns among North American investment advisors and wealth managers in recent years. Each engagement has helped informed the design and execution of our next efforts – and we’ve consistently seen our KPIs improve. What we like about Lodestar is that they think like brand strategists, not just plug ‘n chug market researchers.
Lodestar showed us what a ‘branded” sales experience can look like from the customer perspective – and how by projecting our brand proposition throughout a long and complex process we can positively impact our sales performance.
The Lodestar study identified which elements of our marketing mix were most and least productive in driving awareness of and attendance at a major regional impressionism exhibition. Some on our Board believed we had to invest in costly television advertising for success. Lodestar demonstrated that we did much better with investments in less costly local print media and outdoor advertising. They also quantitatively demonstrated marketing ROI for some of our sponsors, which was greatly appreciated and increases the likelihood we can count on their support in the future.
Their initial work in assessing our brand performance and member engagement has evolved into a broader mandate to help us transform our business model and internal culture. Lodestar has become a trusted advisor to our entire leadership team.
Since 2008 Lodestar has worked with us to develop an integrated marketplace intelligence platform that has more than doubled our ‘line of sight’ regarding future trends in disease state management and the implications of emerging technologies and consumer electronic products. They also provide critical third-party assessment and validation of our 10-year new product/service road map.
Lodestar’s research work is unique within our industry – without question, they set the standard of excellence. Every study offers genuine new insight and a recommended plan for action. For over a decade, we’ve made ‘bet the farm’ decisions across our portfolio of B2B magazine brands based on their analyses and recommendations.
The Lodestar team has been instrumental in helping us address sales process simplification and speed our time-to-signed-contract. They have also helped us identify opportunities to build sales force engagement and commitment and address several key training deficiencies we hadn’t been aware of. Very smart and insightful people who also understand what improving sales performance at the street level is all about.