Years ago Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, made a very profound observation:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Yet the marketing function is broad, challenging, and often misunderstood, especially at the small to mid-market level. The Fortune 500 and savvy mid-market consumer products companies approach the marketing function from a fundamentally different angle from that of most small to mid-market companies:
They start with market research and devise a focused, comprehensive strategy to penetrate their market, build their brand, and win mindshare before they enter a market.
The typical small to mid-market company is focused on sales, a tactical function of the marketing process, and gives little thought to researching the market, building a brand, and winning mindshare. When you consider the mindset of the typical small to mid-market CEO, this makes sense; most were very-skilled and well-trained engineers, salespeople, or finance people prior to starting their own company or taking over the top role.
If you believe in Drucker’s observation, then the most important part of marketing strategy, the positioning and branding strategy, should be owned by the CEO of a small to mid-market company. It’s simply too important to delegate to a consultant or tactical marketer.
Positioning and branding can be complicated, so to get started, think about the one thing you’d like your product/service/company to be known for – the mindshare that you’d like to own.
To win mindshare and influence your market, follow these steps at the highest level:
This short article isn’t meant to trivialize these tasks; all three can be very challenging for a mid-market company. It’s simply meant to give CEOs and marketers in small to mid-market companies some direction when it comes to long term growth strategy.
If you’re a CEO of a small to mid-market company, our new eBook written with our ShortTrack CEO partners goes into greater depth on how to influence your market (it’s concept 3 in the book). Download it here. Currently it’s complimentary.
If you’re a marketer looking for tools to help you craft your competitive positioning and brand strategy, you can access them in our marketing strategy and planning application.
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