Simply stated, a company markets because it is looking to get from one place – its base – to another place.
They want to go from a position of low visibility to a position with higher visibility.
They have a reputation for doing one thing, and want to expand their audience’s perception to include other things.
Mostly, of course, they want to go from their current level of sales, revenues and profits to a level where they enjoy more of all these things, most certainly profits.
As with any journey, where you are at the start – your base – is an essential element when planning for your company’s growth.
But it’s far more complicated than just what you sell and how much you make. You need to take a long, hard look at how you do what you do and why it matters to the people you serve. That’s your “base”.
Is your company great at what it does? Is it the best quality? The cheapest? The most accessible? The most personal? The most creative?
Be critical. Think about the expertise, time and resources you bring to helping your customers achieve their objectives.
Can you honestly say your clients’ experience is superior to the experience they would have with another company in the same space?
Why? How do you achieve it? What policies and systems assure excellence?
I’m talking about the kind of sustainable, repeatable excellence that doesn’t rely solely on the skill and good judgment of a few key, conscientious people – people who may come and go.
Is your methodology and operating infrastructure capable of supporting growth without compromising your clients’ experience?
What do your customers say?
Why, with all the choices out there, do they choose and stay with you? What would they miss if you weren’t there? Why does it matter to them?
You know there are new companies with new products and technology out there vying for your clients’ attention. These companies are making big plans to seduce your current and future customers with advantages they’re sure you cannot deliver.
How can you leverage your core competencies – your base – with emerging systems or technology so you remain one step ahead of the shiny new things that threaten to distract customers from the value you know you bring?
What does your brand dictate? In my article “Inside Out – Building Better Brands”, I describe how your company has a brand, whether you set out to “brand” or not.
It’s how people feel about your company, the space your company occupies in their minds. To them, your brand is the product of all the things you’ve said and done. More than ever, it’s also the outcome of what your customers and critics have had to say about you. All the stuff you’ve sold and all the relationships you’ve built contribute to the brand. Your growth plans MUST honor it.
As you make plans to market and grow and as you consider adding new products or expanding into new markets, be all about that base: The vision. The set of passions, skills, capabilities and relationships that got the ball rolling in the first place.
By understanding your brand and the qualities that enliven your relationships, you can drive growth that excites your people and your customers. Just be you, only better.
Bigger will follow.
By Michael Morrison
Michael is a Portland, Oregon-based CMO with Chief Outsiders, serving B2B, B2B2C and B2C companies across the U.S. with branding and marketing strategies to accelerate growth. Email or phone Michael at 406-868-9179, or connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.