Survival Of The Fittest – Do or Die
Have your sales slowed? Are your profits down? I imagine it all started out
well but overtime its come off the boil and the sales have been flat for a
while? The question really is why? I don’t really know the answer as I am
sure it will vary from business to business. But I could have a good guess.
When we start out with a plan we can identify customers with a specific need
and provide a product offering to help them to meet that need and charge an
appropriate price. We might be a first mover in a market that’s not really
served. Or we might be a competitor in a market doing things better than our
competition? Or we may have introduced a disruptive proposition in an over
served market and changed the way of doing business. In any of these
scenarios we can do well if we focus our limited resources on meeting or
better meeting our customer needs versus current or future competition.
The problem comes when the internal organisation evolves and changes in its
complexity and the external market also likely alters. This occurs either
through a change in customer behaviour and expectations, competition or
suppliers or something else. We live in a fast changing environment and to
rely solely upon what made for our early successes is a risky business. We
need to evolve to survive and prosper.
The answer to both avoiding such situations in the first instance or turning
things around really lies in ensuring you have a strong marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy must have the following components, at the very least, in
order for it to be defined at strong.
Firstly, it should be forward looking to the future in order to try to
anticipate how things will evolve.
Secondly, there should be clarity on need based customer segments you have
chosen to target and not just simple segments defined by descriptors such as
age, sex and geography.
Thirdly, strong marketing strategy should be SWOT aligned, which means there
are clear choices of which opportunities for growth and which issues to
manage you will allocate scarce resources to and which we will not so as to
leverage our relative strengths and mitigate our weaknesses.
Fourthly, your customer proposition should be genuinely tailored to meet the
needs of your customers, not simply tweaked from a standard offering.
Lastly but by no means least, your product or service offering should be
differentiated from competitors to ensure you are not offering the same
thing and competing on price in a generic market.
So it’s time to turn things around and get back to double digit growth. With
a winning marketing strategy at the core you can build your business plan to
serve your customers better than your competition and then there will be no
stopping you. Never rest upon your laurels though as things change all the
time and it is your responsibility to pressure test the plan, continue to
innovate and stay ahead of the curve.