The summer is here and with it brings the beginning of the second half of the year. This is great time for re-evaluating progress in meeting our business goals. It represents a half-way point to determine if we are on track for the year, if we need to change course in direction, or simply act with greater resolve and urgency to achieve our outcomes.
One thing that we uncovered in our recent Readership Survey is that a large percentage (47.7%) of subscribers desire to learn about strategies for achieving better results. The most frequently occurring response when respondents were asked about what they want to achieve in their business over the next 3-5 years in “growth”. I think that it is safe to say that many of our readers can benefit from strategies that will help them achieve higher levels of growth.
In my attempt to provide readers with more of what they want, let me give you some action steps to follow if you find that your actual growth for this year is not in line with your original target. First, remember that the trend is your friend. This means that you need to periodically evaluate your market to determine if the trend is working in your favor. You’ll want to get a handle on the size and growth rate of the market you serve, the level of competition, industry dynamics, buyer behavior, and purchasing criteria. You can uncover this information through internet research, market surveys, analysts, and other secondary sources of data such as articles, press releases, annual reports, etc.
Assuming you’ve concluded that the market you serve is large and growing, then you need to ensure you have the right marketing strategy in place to capture your share of this opportunity. Think of your marketing strategy in terms of a triad.
At the base of this triad is your company’s performance. The ability of your company to deliver on its promise is critical to keeping customers. If they are happy with your service, they will tell others and you will gain word of mouth referrals. The second side of the triad is the value your company provides to customers. Is it defined in a way that the value is clear and compelling to current and potential customers? Value is often defined by the quality of your offering and the little things you do to win over the customer. For example, are you providing them with options so they get exactly what they want? It also includes offering great service and support before they buy.
The third side of the marketing strategy triad is your tactics. You want to make sure that you are implementing tactics that will drive customers to you and encourage them to do business with you. Tactics to consider are pricing, social media, advertising, promotion, etc. Most importantly, the tactics you use must be consistent with the other elements of your triad. In other words, your advertising and pricing tactics must align with the value you provide and the performance you deliver, and vice versa.
This triad provides a good framework for evaluating the results of your marketing efforts. Like most frameworks, they are only effective if use them as an analytical tool. If sales are not where you want them to be then look at your marketing strategy triad. Use it to evaluate how effective your performance, value, and tactics are in attracting and keeping customers. It will provide you with insights on how and where to improve. If used consistently, it will enable to you win more than you fair share of business.