So you want to grow your business…

Easy…there are only three ways with an established product. You’ll read them and say “I knew that.” But most of us don’t consciously identify the specific way or ways we want to grow our business. Increase Share – you could grow your business by taking business away from your competitors. This is the most emotionally satisfying because it involves consumers demonstrating they like you more, but requires a specific plan to be successful. Instead, you might encourage new uses – like Arm & Hammer finding a hundred new ways to use baking soda to increase consumption among users, or S.O.S steel wool soap pads encouraging gear heads to use pads to clean their wheels. Finally, some brands grow their business by encouraging increased frequency – generally a little tricky because people naturally find their level of use that satisfies them, but changing the brand proposition makes it possible; e.g. it may taste like oatmeal, but now it’s good for your heart, everyday.

Marketer…do you know your problem?

The fastest way to solve a marketing problem is to correctly diagnose the source of the problem first. The world of marketing headaches is divided into three areas: product, brand and communications tools. If the physical product is the source of the problem, stop everything else and fix it. The last thing you want to do is more effectively market a disappointment. Sometimes the problem is at the brand level. For example, an old brand that can’t shed its past, and doesn’t make the right connection with the consumer; like now defunct Oldsmobile, which, it turns out, WAS your father’s Oldsmobile. And finally, problems can occur when the communications tools are missing the target, missing the right story, missing the right media channels, or simply spending too little to achieve influence.

Positioning is not the same as position.

Positioning has traditionally been described as the space your brand occupies in the consumer’s mind. Are you positioned as the “premium” brand? Or “value brand.” Or something else? Classic marketers considered only a few positionings as viable because the consumer was unwilling to sort out our mess. But shift forward. Your brand can hold any one of a number of positions. A position is not a positioning. It’s a point of view, a deep conviction, a value or passion that your brand shares with the customer. In many categories, particularly where the actual products are indistinguishable, consumers are lining up with brands that line up with them.