It is easy to be so fixated on our current operations, processes, and running a successful business that we forget to integrate a marketing perspective. As Pete Hayes and Art Saxby put it in their book, Growth Gears:

Running an operationally focused company is like riding a bicycle. Every time you put a little more power into the pedal, you go a little further, but you have to keep pushing harder and harder to get there. However, if you add the market-focused perspective, it’s like adding gears to the bike. Then every pedal stroke gives you increasing leverage and takes you even farther, faster.

As we think about adding the marketing gear to our businesses, we must step back and ask bigger questions like:

  • Why are we growing?
    Who do we serve?
    What need do we meet?

Ideally these questions would be asked and answered prior to the launch of a product or service. But we know it’s necessary to constantly adjust to ensure our companies are meeting the needs of customers and growing in the market. As we adjust, it’s helpful to take a step back and ask ourselves bigger questions that will inform our marketing strategy.

Why are we growing? It’s one thing to grow, and it’s another to know why growth is happening. By not having a clear understanding as to why a company is growing, we won’t know how to fix the business when growth slows or halts. Chances are the strategy in play today won’t be the strategy needed to grow tomorrow. When we take the time to understand why our business is growing, stagnant, or regressing and reflect on the “why?”, it will help in answering the next two questions.

Who are our customers? Do you know who exactly is buying our services or products? Is it the customer segment that we are targeting? If you know the crucial information contained in the answers to these questions, that’s great! If no, it may be time to re-evaluate the target or the strategy to reach the desired customer. Working with the marketing and sales teams to determine which direction the messaging needs to go will help better align the product or service appeal to the customer.

What need are we meeting? Another way of asking this question is, “Why are customers buying our product?” This need should match the customer demographic  outlined in the previous question. The first step however, is creating customer personas. While this can be tedious and sometimes confusing process, it’s important to have a focused picture of why the target customer is interested in a product and what makes them choose to buy. In a future post, we will explore how to develop a DSI (Dominant Selling Idea), and how to leverage it to help inform future buying decisions.

To determine how well you implement these concepts, or to start the conversation, download our free marketing self-assessment tool.