Just like a garden needs water and fertiliser to grow, a business needs structure, discipline and an strategic approach to business development and marketing to reach its pinnacle, or does it?
A proactive business can survive, grow and even call itself successful from an opportunistic approach to market. But a strategically considered, well targeted approach can deliver so much more.
Put metaphorically, an orange tree planted in the ground will probably grow and bear fruit, but one in a structured bed, planted in the right location, with the right fertilizer will yield more fruit for longer periods.
Sure, most businesses achieve a level of organic, accidental growth. Right place, right time, right service…
They can be enough to build a very exciting company. But once you have this in place, and you are looking for the next level of growth, what needs to be done is different. Fundamentally different.
The best and most compounding growth comes from the active pursuit of business relationships in well considered, well understood target markets, ripe with early opportunity.
Sure, it comes from building a brand that is well recognized by buyers, targets and industry influencers; but more importantly it comes from identifying problems, gaps and opportunities in a segment and being able to deliberately connect your people with the people you want to work with.
There is no rocket science to building a marketing strategy for a professional services firm. A good approach to strategic marketing requires strategy, but it also needs to be implementable, rooted in growing the business it serves. The best strategies:
1. Have a well understood, well segmented market view, where the opportunities, gaps and trends are researched, explored and extrapolated so that prospects can be identified and openings sought. A company with strategic vision can see new markets early enough to properly capitalise on an opportunity. A company that doesn’t, jumps on a trend once it is well underway, mature even, missing the best profits.
All too often businesses take crude, unvalidated, or even ignorant views of their market as satisfactory baselines for business decision making. It just is not strategic.
2. Profile specifically opportune target markets, and specific corporate and “people” targets within them. In services industries, even in the age of i-mania, the cliché still stands true. ‘People do business with people’. So once we have identified the strategic opportunities, we need to identify your target clients, then identify the target persons within your target clients that you need to build trust, rapport and relationships with to attract their business. If you know who you want to do business with, it is a lot easier to craft a marketing program that will connect with them, their problems, opportunities and environment.
3. Build an implementable strategy. If you truly understand your market you will now be able to compile a tactical approach to it, tailoring your services and marketing to those that you want to have buy them. Your message, communication and implementation should draw at every step on your understanding of the problems in your target markets. You must demonstrate the creative ways your firm can solve them, and the risks that might emerge; and you must resource your strategic push appropriately for success. Your knowledge, targeting and resourcing of your plan allows you to step strategically into the emerging, opportune and exciting spaces in your market and achieve real results.
The alternative is to lag with declining revenue growth at the rear of trends, opportunistically grabbing onto whatever business lands in front of your pipeline. It can work, but it can be better.
A truly strategic marketing plan is simple, realistic and implementable by the team that will grow from its success. It draws marketing and business development together and drives revenue and profit deliberately.
Is your marketing plan strategic enough?