If you’ve been feeling anxious or frustrated because you know you’re sitting on untapped business potential, you’re certainly not alone. It’s not that most businesses wouldn’t relish greater leads, greater sales and greater market share. It’s not that most don’t want the whole world to know about the unique value in store for them. It’s that most would prefer a quick fix to what are often deep-seated, core communications issues that have often been left unaddressed for years. But you don’t want to be that guy or girl. You want to be the fearless company superhero who grabs the marketing bull by the, what else, the bullhorn!
When people genuinely want greater sales and greater success, then they are also ready to really dig in and get their hands dirty. Only then do they begin removing the roadblocks to increasing sales revenues, measurable marketing impact and sustainable marketing ROI.
So, What 7 Obstacles to Business Growth Do Companies Need to Overcome to Achieve Breakthrough Marketing Performance?
- Loss of focus & clarity:in order to get more out of your marketing, you need greater clarity and focus around 1) the definition and priority of the marketing function in the organization itself and 2) your points of target intersect and whether they are expressed in your core position and messages.
- Resource allocations & priorities:too often businesses, especially small businesses, claim they don’t have money left over for marketing. So long as every expenditure that came before was invested in customer creation, that may, in fact, be true. But what I see with astounding frequency is a long list of unrelated or purely tactical marketing expenses, with no investment into the core of the company – its fundamental ability to connect with the people who feed it.
- Increasing awareness and increasing interest:creating interest may not be easy, perhaps especially so in B2B marketing communications, but to connect better with your target audiences, you need to have something worth saying. To be more resonant, you need to be more relevant.Rarely does this happen without greater focus and clarity around your core messages. Genuine creativity can be an enormously valuable asset to the business, but you’ve got to become more familiar with the process, which includes its stewards. Know exactly how you’ve got to talk to it. Become friendly with it. It will love you back and fetch you sticks and stuff.
- Increasing understanding: surprisingly, many companies want their targets to have an understanding of their business value that actually exceeds their own. No. To increase others’ understanding, we must first take the time out to organize, clarify and distill so we can simplify both for ourselves and for those we need to persuade. Only by simplifying can we begin to make all those little marketplace light bulbs turn on.
- Increasing excitement: yes, creating excitement is about garnering attention, but did you know it’s more than a “retail” device for creating urgency? The style and creativity of your communications also help you cultivate a positive predisposition to working with and purchasing from you. Humor works exceptionally well at getting prospects to lose some of the armor and understandable marketing cynicism.
- Marketing and sales systems: tactics in isolation, short term thinking and ad hoc planning will never get you to enduring sales performance or long term, sustainable marketing ROI. Engineering the company to be a customer creator isn’t easy. Resist the urge for instant marketing and sales gratification. Think systems and structure. Be that wise third little pig who built in brick, critics, naysayers and peanut gallery, be damned. First, marketing strategy, messaging strategy and infrastructure. Then, marketing budgeting and planning. Then, briefing. Then, creative. Then, marketing.
- Recognize where there’s parity and, for gosh sakes, do something about it: businesses are reluctant to embrace creativity because it is, in fact, so difficult to manage. But strategy and creativity together are how you differentiate, often imbuing the entire company with elevated perceptions of value. The tighter your strategy, the more you can hold your creative deliverables, and the precious dollars behind them, accountable. From your company name to the design of your corporate identity, and from the tone and style of your website to the look and feel of your trade show display and marketing collateral, opportunities for greater differentiation are everywhere. Use them. The sea of sameness will pull you under, leaving you vulnerable to price concessions, wimpy marketing, market share drift or worse.