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What is your strategy for “low touch” markets?

Low touch markets have increased in ubiquity and prevalence across different industry verticals and consumption chains. Their unique identifiers include different intensity of touch or human interaction, from no touch at the extreme end of the continuum to some fair amount of touch at the other end, separated by minimal touch in the middle. At the back end, the differentiator is the level of technology involvement across the three scenarios, technologically driven versus technology informed, with technology assisted right in the middle. The point of departure for strategy in low touch markets is a reminder that strategy is nothing else, but a configuration of logically related ends, ways and means that are applicable in time and space. Net, strategy starts with the end, and then work backwards.

The end goal of business strategy is well documented and has been a subject of discussion amongst market based, resource based and dynamic capability theorists for some time. In essence though the end goal is to deliver free cashflows to the firm and capital providers that exceed the cost of capital. The key drivers for this are, to use one mode of thinking; 1) revenue growth, margins and capital efficiency. In short, growth and ROIC and to be in this position, a firm must win with the customer, win operationally or be operationally efficient and also be capital efficient. In other words, generate a bigger spread on invested capital.

In low touch markets, the above also applies. The only caveat, strategically speaking, is that one must take into account the fact that to win with the customer, one must take the following into account. Firstly, a market is nothing but a combination of people and their jobs to be done in a specific context (Ulwick, 2017). In other words, the context gives rise to a job to be done for a specific set of people. Those with the willingness and ability to pay, take action and hire a tool or set of tools to execute the job. During the pandemic, driven by a confluence of the need to be safe in the face of ravaging COVID-19 and technological advancements, contactless or low touch searching, browsing and choosing brands and sku’s, ordering, payment, delivery, service and repeat purchases, accelerated.

Secondly, as is always the case, context does change and when it changes, the job to be done may either be reinforced or changed. Even if the broader context does not change, which is unlikely, the Windermere and Associates model has shown over time that consumers or people’s circumstances, values and preferences do change. In addition to this, new players with new and fresh ideas, may spring up to fight for the slice of low touch markets. The question in this likely scenario is, will your firm be a able generate a spread, if so, how big a spread will it be and for how long, in the face of changing, context, consumers preferences and the entry of new players?

Net, this piece submits that whilst the focus during this time is largely been on the things or the technologies as it always the case in early stages of new games, do not lose sight of the fact that markets have two sides to them, with the one side pulling the other. Net to win sustainability across contexts and times, the people with the jobs that need to be done, are kings and queens and not the technology. They are the ones whose activities, the frequency with which they perform those activities, the size of the money they leave behind with you each time they perform these jobs or activities, the length of time they stay with you and the proportion of these activities they perform with you or your help, is what creates value.

NB: At the time (06 April, 2021, 15h45 GMT+2) of writing this article, the concept of “low touch markets” was not found on the worldwide web. Other related concepts such as “low touch world, low touch economy, low touch business, low touch business model, low touch sales model, funnel, low touch customer service, low touch customer success” etc., were  Although some of these concepts do aggregate into “low touch market (s),” no direct reference to this concept was found. This is a big gap


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  2. Bagchi, P., 2020. The pandemic pivot to low-touch business. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
  3. Burke, R. (2018). Operational Design: One Method of Reconciling Ends, Ways, and Means. In Burke R., Fowler M., & McCaskey K. (Eds.), Military Strategy, Joint Operations, and Airpower: An Introduction (pp. 32-53). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Retrieved July 26, 2020, from
  4. Koller, T., Dobbs, R. and Huyett, B., 2010. Value. 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, p.3.
  5. Loss Prevention Media. 2021. The Growing Importance of Contactless Deliveries in the New Normal. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
  6. O’Doherty, P., 2021. The Playbook For Low-Touch Customer Success. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 April 2021].
    Ōhmae, K. (1983). The mind of the strategist. New York.
  7. Serrano, F., 2020. What is The Low Touch Economy and What to Expect | Socialnomics. [online] Socialnomics. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
  8. Strong, C., Naert, S., Murphy, C. and Ansons, T., 2021. Brand rituals in a low-touch world. [online] Ipsos. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
  9.  Strusani, D. and Houngbonon, G., 2021. The Impact of COVID-19 on Disruptive Technology Adoption in Emerging Markets. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 February 2021]..
  10. Ulwick, T., 2017. Jobs-to-be-Done: A Framework for Customer Needs. [online] Medium. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2021].
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Is your business ready for a rollercoaster ride?

Volatility is is here with us. Stock market indices, S&P, Dow, Nasdaq, CAC, FTSE etc., swing from pessimism, cautious optimism and optimism. The same applies to private companies, households and consumers.

Each swing correlates with propensity to buy, spend or sell on the side of different market players. Is your business ready and geared up for this rollercoaster ride?

Who is willing to pay for an equity position in your business?

No matter how strong the fundamentals of your business are, it is always advisable to get a sense of what the market thinks as well as the value that the market attaches to your business and the industry sector that you play in. Most importantly though, it is particularly critical to obtain some insights about the segment of the market that would have an interest in your business and the sector that you play in and why.

Most family business owners in the lower mid market get to a point where they want to sell or dilute their equity position in their business for one reason or another, but do not know how to go about doing it. Some approach this assignment the same way they would sell their house or property, whilst others get their lawyers or accountants to try and sell their business. One year or 18 months later, and after seeing lots of potential suitors, most of these business owners are still no where close to closing deal, but worse, given the amount of time spent in the market “throwing mud at any wall” and hoping that something will stick somewhere, they have now “commoditised their” asset, and this makes it difficult to generate interest in the business.

Our counsel is as follows:-

    • Speak to the right people early on, this will save you a lot. Selling a business is a specialised skill and you need to the right people. Equally, selling a lower mid market family business with own peculiarities, is a different kettle of fish.
    • You need to target. That requires you to speak to people who understand the market, but more importantly, the strategic buyers or financial buyers who would be interested in your business and why.
    • You need to test the market long before you go to market.

Should you be interested to test the market, please get in touch with us on


Exogenous shocks, firm position, market reaction.

Strategy 101 exhorts managers to keep tabs of both the proximate and the task environment and to be on the look out for events that may threaten or present opportunities to grow the firm’s operating performance, improve Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) or widen the spread between ROIC and cost of capital.  In this regard, time, effort and money was not spared. Most managers and owners have a firm grasp of these drivers as well as their broad behavioural patterns or plots and have built their models on this plots. Nothing however, seems to have prepared most to make sense of and deal effectively, at least in the short term, with multiple exogenous shocks (health crisis, economic policy responses to the health crisis combined with technological disruption, environmental and social challenges) either acting in concert, feeding off one another or working parallel one another.

Like most things in life, the COVID-19 induced health crisis and associated policy responses presented some industry sectors, industry groups, sub industries, categories and stocks/firms with tailwinds and others with headwinds. The industrials sector, specifically, the airline sub industry as well as consumer discretionary sector, specifically, casinos and gaming, hotels, resorts and cruise lines and leisure facilities, are examples of the former, whilst health care, consumer staples and some sub industries within communication services are examples of the latter. Firms within these sectors or sub industries are exposed to the same level and intensity of of headwinds or tailwinds, despite this, stock markets assign different opinions and place different bets to firms facing the same headwinds or tailwinds.

To illustrate the point, all casino and gaming firms could not trade due to lock downs instituted in different geographies and post lock-downs, they will be expected to institute some health safety measures and social distancing measures to protect clients and workers.