In the beginning stages of growth, many new businesses struggle to identify the ‘why’ of their business plan. Yet the ‘why’ – the reason why your company exists and what it stands for – is fundamental to getting your business off the ground and driving long-term success.
According to recent research conducted by CB Insights, 9 out of 10 start-ups fail. This is a pretty alarming statistic in of itself – but even more worrying is the fact that almost half of the businesses surveyed fell flat due to insufficient market research and a weak marketing strategy.
Evidently, businesses who don’t address the ‘why’ of their business tend to fall short of their growth plans and wonder where they went wrong. It’s easy to pinpoint what your products and services are, and how they can benefit your customers — but how do you identify why you do it, and effectively communicate your purpose, cause and beliefs to others?
The most successful businesses today motivate others to think, act and engage with an idea, not a product or service. Communicating a clear and consistent idea (a ‘why’) through effective marketing will ensure that customers and employees alike engage meaningfully with your brand and stay loyal for longer.
Here are my top 5 top tips on how to focus on the ‘why’ of strategic marketing and carve out a competitive edge for your business.
- Identify your vision and mission. Step one is to clearly articulate your vision and mission. Ask yourself: what makes my business authentic, unique and different? How does my product or service make a positive impact upon people’s lives? Your vision and mission should be grounded in long-term growth plans. Think about how you can expand your purpose and vision into new markets in the future, and integrate these ideas into business proposals and policies.
- Integrate your core values and brand message into everything you do. Every organisation has an edge or a ‘hook’ that can be leveraged to carve out a competitive advantage. What are the core values and traits that make you stand out in the market? The key is to clearly articulate your core values in every interaction and across every platform, ensuring that your brand message is coherent, consistent and authentic.
- Create a meaningful story. A meaningful story should be the basis of your marketing strategy. It’s not enough to ‘wow’ people with visual stimuli and flashy applications; customers and employees need to understand the substance and brand essence behind your business. Tell a meaningful story with flair and originality, and you will spark interest in your business, all the while driving deeper customer and employee engagement.
- Attract people who live and breathe your brand. People want to live and breathe a meaningful brand philosophy. When employees’ values align with the values of the organisation, they are able to connect emotionally with the brand and ‘walk the talk’. With time, persistence and the right marketing strategies, you can attract employees who live and breathe your brand – and they, in turn, will build strong relationships with customers and engage an ever-expanding network of people with your business.
- Prioritise marketing in your long-term growth plans. In today’s highly competitive market, the purposeful ‘why’ – as communicated in a strong marketing strategy – is fundamental to business success. Be smart and savvy about where you invest your dollars, ensure that your budget covers the marketing mix, and manage your expectations accordingly. Remember that marketing is not just about driving sales; it’s about delivering business value for your people and customers, and creating a framework for sustainable growth.