The Activity Map is a powerful tool for understanding how the activities pursued by a company fit together. This framework, developed by Michael Porter, focuses on how core competencies ‘network’ with each other to create competitive advantage.
Using the process of activity system mapping, managers can analyze their current and future strategic positions and find ways to improve performance. The goal is to improve The Activity Map the way that management activities and market policies connect with each other to create the best possible outcome for a customer or market.
For example, a farmer’s market might develop an activity system map for itself that consists of a series of marketing strategies and events to attract more customers. The management activities and market policies might include a retooling of the website, new signage, and special events to attract more customers. The market might also rethink its pricing structure to provide more incentive to customers and increase profitability.
A key element of the activity system mapping process is determining the core competencies of a business, and identifying which market policies and management activities support them. This can be accomplished by conducting a thorough review of the business and its activities. An outside consultant can help the market identify its strengths and weaknesses, and assist in developing an action plan for improvement.
Once the activity system map is created, it should be reviewed with both management and market vendors to make sure that it is complete and accurate. A review can also serve as a reality check to determine whether the existing activities and market policies really do support the core competencies identified in the activity system map.
An additional benefit of the activity system map is that it can be used to design a multichannel experience for customers. For example, a customer could receive three follow-up offers from the same market through different paths that all originate from the same node on the activity system map. The occurrence and time period for each path can be configured to control when the follow-up offer is sent.
In addition to the basic properties that identify an activity, an activity may have custom properties configured in the Custom Properties section. The properties of an activity can be edited by selecting the activity and editing the property values in the dialog box that appears.
In the path properties of a node, the options Insert Path after, Continue from impression, and Edit allow you to configure the actions that occur at the end of a specific path. In addition, the option Add path variant enables you to add path variants to an activity, and the option Adjust distribution lets you select how the path variants are distributed across eligible customers.