Stop Searching for Marketing Strategy. Only Look for Business Growth.

Stop Searching for Marketing Strategy. Only Look for Business Growth.

If you want to scale your business then there’s one word in your vocabulary that you need to delete right now, and delete it forever, and it’s the word “marketing”. 

Nothing is more debilitating in 2020 and beyond than using a 1950’s definition of how to grow your business, and nothing is more cancerous to your future success. 

Most business owners focus solely on their products and services, and how to deliver for their current customers, and whilst that is absolutely paramount to having a successful business today, it can’t be the only thing that you think about. Sooner or later if you want to build the business of tomorrow you need to have a plan for growth.

In 2020, any plan for growth has to be built on how you will find, and acquire ‘future customers’ through digital channels. 

The problem with the word ‘marketing’, is that it has so many old school connotations built on traditional media and advertising models that can be really harmful to your business today. 

Most business builders associate the word marketing with other terms like; 

 

  • Communications
  • Graphic design
  • And my personal favourite, ‘Branding’.

What is ‘branding’ anyway? To me it conjures up images of cattle on a farm copping a red hot steel logo on their backside which gives the cows a very quick (and likely painful) way of being distinguished from one another in the stockyard.

But your customers aren’t cattle. They are individuals. They are better educated than ever before, they are well informed and able to switch from your brand to your competitors in micro second. So unless you have the luxury of being a monopoly, then chances are that you operate in a hyper competitive market and the difference between you and your competitors probably isn’t that much. 

So how can you outfox them? Well the first thing you need to do is ditch that word ‘marketing’ and replace it with the word ‘growth’, especially when it’s joined with the word strategy. 

Whilst we’re on the subject of cattle, I’ll give you an example; 

Let’s take a new entrepreneurial business person who has seen an opportunity to turn an old Dairy Cow into a high end T-Bone steak that could take on the likes of Wagyu in a fancy hatted restaurant environment. 

So they work hard to lobby Restaurateurs to get their steak on the menu, and focus on making sure that they deliver the best possible steak to those restaurants that they possibly can. But given the constraints of their business, there are only so many Restaurateurs that want to buy it – and even so, buying high end steak from any source is a very competitive market to play in. 

To this point, marketing strategy has been an afterthought. They’ve come up with a random name that only meant something to them internally, and spent $20 on a logo that was generated from a logo-creating website. 

Proud of how little they’ve spent on their communications and branding they think all is well with their ‘marketing strategy’, …that is until they want to take their business to the next level.

Like many things, growing a business is not a linear process, where each step forward is the same height as the last. This next step that they want to take is a big one, because now they have to find a way to reach their consumers outside of the Restaurant channel, and that means going direct to market, or direct to consumer, and of course eCommerce is a booming channel. 

Sounds like a cunning plan, that can only make them millions until they realise that they’re not a household name like Wagyu, people don’t know or understand their story, and to date they’ve relied completely on the profile of the restaurants, and the chefs, to put a face on their product. 

You see when any of us buy a luxurious or prestigious product, a large part of why we are willing to pay a premium for it is so that we can show it off. 

There’s a very good reason that the Mercedes logo is featured so prominently on the hood of their cars. 

You would never invite friends over for a dinner party, and fork out $90 a kilo for your Dry Aged Wagyu beef without telling them about it, and most of us wouldn’t go and eat at a fancy hatted restaurant on our own. 

When any consumer buys a luxury brand, part of what they are buying may well be self indulgence, but by and large it is self promotion that they are after. 

Luxury brands are most lucrative when they can be shared.

Any attempt to sell a luxury item to any consumer that has no brand will fail, no matter how good the actual product is. And if your strategy is simply to put your product out there and let it stand on its own two feet, you are crazy. None of us have control over organic social media, and your competitors certainly aren’t going to sit back and let you get a free kick. 

Now let’s look at this same scenario and replace the word marketing, with growth. 

Instead of your marketing strategy being an afterthought, suddenly your strategy for growth is fundamental to your future success. 

A marketing strategy is more likely to have an end date that is short term, plan it, print it, distribute it, and it’s done. Whereas a strategy for growth is ongoing, longer term, bigger picture stuff that comes up much earlier in your business planning – if not right at the conception stage. 

Planning for growth is usually ‘why’ you’re in business in the first place. Most people go into business because they see an opportunity for the future. They see a chance to have something more than just a job. Building a company employs others, sure, but that entity is what you’re directing, and the dreams are usually big. 

Any plans for growth in 2020 and beyond must be centred on acquiring new customers through digital channels, and that’s the equation that the term ‘marketing’ tends to block. 

 

Digital = Business Growth, period

I’m not saying all of those tactics that are connotations of the old school marketing strategy can’t be helpful, logo design and colour aesthetics etc. But how you find, engage and acquire new customers through digital channels is very different from traditional advertising philosophies. 

Marketing through mobile especially is vastly different. It’s about delivering personalised experiences at scale, a concept that can be very hard to grasp with a traditional mass-media mindset.

I know it might sound like we’re playing semantics, but having a marketing strategy that is developed after you’ve already made your business plan is not going to get you there, or keep you there. 

Having a strategy for growth however, will.

So don’t be limited by old school terminology – changing your vocabulary can help you change the way you think. Don’t sell yourself short by focussing only on what you know today. Things are changing fast out there and the goal should be to change fast with it, and grow, grow, grow.