Marketing should drive your organization

Last week I was talking with a client who recently took a position at a new company. The new company was in the same industry that they'd worked in before. They were concerned about the lack of growth and poor revenue numbers for the product lines they managed. After some lengthy discussion it became apparent that nothing was wrong with their marketing tactics. In fact, they were implementing the tactics & programs that had previously driven growth.

The issue is a strategic one. The company wasn't positioned in a way that allowed them to differentiate from the competition. They didn't have a unique narrative that would persuade customers to choose them over the competition. They weren't the cheapest, and they weren't the biggest. They were a "me too" firm and had to work way too hard to win business. In their current incarnation, there wasn't anything unique about them.

The reality is that the only way they can succeed in their crowded marketplace is to re-orient their company. This means new messaging, but also operational changes that will re-inforce that message. And these changes are the real key to whether, or not they succeed. This is a big challenge for them. The marketing team has to drive major changes in the organization in order for their message to stick in the minds of their customers. They have to convince the internal skeptics that the risk in changing is worth it, and the risk in not changing is even greater.

Often you'll see a company re-brand and introduce a new message, but that's all that changes. This is great for the advertising company that charged for the re-brand, but it doesn't mean the company lives up to the message. And if the company doesn't meet the expectations of their messaging then consumers will see right through it.

Written by Adam Harrell on December 29, 2008

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