Lots of companies come to me for advice on ways to grow their businesses massively.
I start off by telling most that if you have big growth objectives you better have big marketing vision.
You can grow 10% by adding some features, doing a better job with SEO or mining social networks for potential leads, but 2X or 3X growth calls for something a little bolder.
In order to achieve incredible growth you must change the context of how the market sees what you offer and in doing so make your competition irrelevant.
To achieve this you can create a never imagined product or innovate an entire industry. These are generally accepted ways to achieve growth, but let’s face it, not everyone has that in them.
A far simpler way is to better understand the market you are trying to serve and move your business into the position of leadership.
You do this by understanding where your market is headed, even before your market knows it headed there.
Most businesses try to focus all of their attention on selling, servicing and talking about where their market is today. They create products and services to sell to people who are already demanding those products and services.
Nothing wrong with that, money to be made there, but that’s where everyone else is playing too.
If you want to make the competition irrelevant you have to start having conversations with the market about the things no one else is telling them they need to consider.
Now, having said that, it doesn’t mean drop everything and bet the farm on a future trend.
You need to break your market into three kinds of customers – I’ll call them Hunters, Catalysts and Trailblazers.
Hunters are probably your customers today. They had a quantifiable need and found you and your solution through some sort of search.
Catalysts offer the greatest near term growth as these are business and individuals that will have a need triggered soon by some type of life cycle change, calendar event, budget refresh, office relocation, etc. (Hint: focusing on identifying what these triggers are with your current hunter clients is the best way to immediately grow share of wallet.)
Lastly, Trailblazers are those odd freaks that are very, very passionate about all things related to where your industry is headed. They buy early, they evangelize, they go to great lengths to have things before others. It’s easy to call these folks early adopters, but it’s more than that – they have passion for anyone and anything that helps them validate their journey.
Okay, now that we have the labels, let me tell you how to use this information.
In simplest terms you need to practically give away what the hunters want in order to gain market share, understand and sell to the triggers that turn hunters into rabid catalyst buyers.
Then, move your content, brand, positioning and thought leadership towards helping the trailblazers flock to your community. It doesn’t matter that you’re not seen in this light currently. That’s the point really, you must move away from your competition by being and communicating the things they are not. The key lies in understanding how to move your brand where the trailblazers reside.
This is how you change the context of brand. It’s how you rise far above the commodity sellers fighting for profit in the hunter space and it just might allow you to attract opportunities for innovation and leadership that don’t currently seem available.
Nobody said this was going to be easy. What I’m suggesting is a business strategy as much as a marketing play, but bold growth only comes from equally bold thinking.