Growth opportunities can feel endless for entrepreneurial businesses: expand upstream or downstream of current buyers, cross over to a new vertical, expand geographic regions, introduce new capabilities, add new strategic marketing channels to the mix, and so much more.
However, if you’re like most entrepreneurial businesses, the landscape of growth opportunity is as overwhelming as it is inspiring. There’s so much your company could do that it becomes difficult to determine what it should do.
As a result, your business might find itself spreading its marketing budget across numerous tactics, channels, and audiences — hoping at least one of them will work. At Authentic, we call this spray-and-pray approach random acts of marketing.
Random acts of marketing happen when businesses lack clarity and focus. Rather than strategically narrowing their marketing focus to what they should do, marketing fields and responds to all sorts of requests from leadership and sales. Ultimately, random acts of marketing burn through resources without driving healthy and sustainable growth.
Focus on the strategic strike zone
An analogy we like to share to illustrate marketing focus (or lack thereof) takes us to a baseball diamond. The outfield represents your company’s capabilities, including all that it can do and all whom it could serve. The infield is where your sales reps focus to skillfully close deals. If a ball goes flying to left field, it doesn’t mean the sales team can’t go after it. But their focus, first and foremost, is on the infield, which includes a narrower set of buyers based on factors like industry, company size, geographic location, and more.
Meanwhile, marketers are your pitchers. Since every business has limited resources (people, time, money), marketing should be hyper-focused on the strike zone: pitching to the customers with the most significant business impact. This strike zone should inform where you allocate your marketing budget and efforts, which will likely be narrower in focus than who sales is targeting.
If marketing finds itself running from one end of the outfield to the other, fielding every request that comes its way, your business likely lacks the focus it needs to drive healthy growth. Not only will you waste valuable resources, but the true potential of marketing as a strategic revenue partner will go unfounded.
Four questions to answer for marketing clarity
Despite rapid change across the marketing landscape, the foundational elements of marketing remain the same as always. Answering the following fundamental questions will help bring the marketing clarity and focus your business needs to drive healthy growth.
- What is your business’s purpose?
Long before you decide which marketing channels and tactics to leverage, your business needs to know its purpose. Your purpose is the reason why the company exists in the world. How does it change lives? Define and document your business’s purpose before doing anything else.
- Who matters most to your business?
Next, your company needs to determine who matters most to it. Which companies or people are most important if your business hopes to fulfill its purpose? These are the audiences that are most important for marketing to target. (We typically recommend no more than 2-3 target audience segments to maximize focus and resource allocation.)
- Why do you matter to your audience?
Once you’ve identified your target audience, consider why your business matters to them. What problem do you help them solve or what opportunity do you unlock for them? Understanding this identifies the value that you bring to your audience. Businesses should always consider how they can help or serve their audience before they think about how they can sell them something. A focus on helping your audiences builds the foundation of trust needed to establish a lasting relationship.
- How does your business intersect with their world?
Once you’ve narrowed in who matters the most to your business and why, think about where your worlds intersect naturally with each other. These intersection points can help your business identify the channels that are most likely to be effective at reaching and engaging your audiences. For example, if your company targets suburban families in a specific region with its roofing and remodeling services, you may choose to leverage digital channels that allow geo-targeting (e.g., Google) or partner with home improvement stores for in-store marketing. On the other hand, if your company sells consulting services to CIO and CTOs of large, global enterprises, your channel mix will look very different. You might invest in marketing at industry events that your buyer attends each year or target the industry influencers that impact your buyers’ decisions.
Answering these four questions will help your business tune out the opportunities it doesn’t need to pursue and focus on the ones that will put you on a path toward healthy growth.
How Authentic supports marketing clarity
Without experienced marketing leadership, growing businesses sometimes struggle to answer these four questions and build a confident marketing program. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we started Authentic. Our experienced marketing leaders help businesses like yours confidently take the next right step to build revenue.
Our Fractional CMOs help you filter through all that you could do to create an actionable plan that’s measurable, attainable and gets all of your resources channeled to the best and highest-impact opportunities.
The landscape of opportunity is immense. But no business can do everything all at once, do it all well, and expect to have healthy and sustainable growth. Reach out if you’d like to discuss how an Authentic Fractional CMO can help your business build a strategic, sales-aligned marketing program intended to drive sustainable growth well into the future.
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