• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

How Strategic Marketing Can Support A Business Transformation

Natalie is Founder & President of Magnetude Consulting, a full-service marketing agency working with small and midsized B2B tech firms.

Expanding into a new region, industry or customer segment. Repositioning in an evolving market. Navigating a merger or acquisition. Revamping your product/service mix. These initiatives have one thing in common: It takes a marketing strategy to optimize the outcome.

Maybe you’re tired of being your industry’s best-kept secret, striving to hit aggressive growth targets or facing increased competitive pressure. No matter the type of business transformation, one thing is clear: The changes you’re about to make will affect your go-to-market strategy and likely catalyze organizational shifts.

When the stakes are this high, you need to consider every aspect of your transformation. That means having the right people at the table: Did you save a seat for a strategic marketer?

Don’t Wait To Involve Marketing

Many executives believe that mapping out a business transformation is the work of a few C-suite members: the CEO, COO, CRO and CFO. Then, they hand off the program to marketing to execute their perceived line items in the plan: Create the campaign, promote the product/service, and bring in the leads.

What’s wrong with this approach? If you wait to include marketing in this process, you miss out on a host of benefits that marketing should provide and risk making costly mistakes, such as:

• Solving a problem that’s already been solved by competitors without identifying the unique value of your offer.

• Developing a value proposition that’s based on what you do, not the value you deliver.

• Confusing customers about the products/services your company offers.

• Leaving sales shorthanded and ill-equipped to sell post-transition.

• Underfunding the initiative because your goals weren’t realistic.

• Overlooking new opportunities in the market because of insufficient research.

• Botching the communication about rollouts to customers, partners and internal teams.

• Failing to complete critical projects on time and within budget.

How Can Marketing Support Business Transformation?

Marketing isn’t only channels and tactics, paid advertising and PR, a beautiful website, or a great piece of swag. A marketer who brings strategic insights and business experience to the table can do more than execute your vision for transformation; they can shape the transformation itself and help ensure it becomes a reality.

Research And Insights

Before you land on a go-forward plan, ask yourself: Have we done the exploratory research necessary to maximize our growth opportunities? If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes,” enlist help. Marketers can conduct research to help you make better decisions. To confidently choose a path, you should have information on:

• Competitive landscape: How will your competitors change based on a new solutions mix, a market expansion or an updated value proposition? How can you adjust to account for these changes?

• Customer insights: Does your planned transformation tie back into your current customer base? Does it establish a new segment with a clear need that you can meet?

• Market opportunities: How does the work you’re doing today set your business up for future opportunities? Are there other possibilities you haven’t considered?

Marketers can provide the data and analysis to answer those questions and others, like: Where should we go in the market? What solutions should we offer, and whom should we serve? What’s our best bet for success?

Marketers’ capabilities don’t end there. Depending on their skill set, they should play other roles in your business transformation.

Positioning And Messaging

Marketers can facilitate the creation of company positioning by identifying the “white space” based on the competitive landscape and the company’s value proposition. They can help develop messaging tailored to different stakeholders: customer personas, partners, investors, internal teams, etc. And they can achieve all of that while building consensus and creating alignment on the leadership team.

Change Management

Transformation requires internal shifts as well as changes in go-to-market strategy. Marketers can spearhead change management: They can effectively communicate changes, explain updates and implications, and get buy-in from your internal team to make sure the transformation sticks.

Road Map Execution

Marketers can help you get complex projects across the finish line. Their insight into resourcing, milestones, budget and external considerations (seasonality, industry trends) helps set realistic expectations for the timing of your transformation.

Marketers can also balance short-term wins and long-term investments, taking time to do things right while driving quick results whenever possible.

Finding The Right Marketer

A strategic marketer has the power to drive the way you conceive, communicate and execute a business transformation. This may or may not be a job for your current marketing team. That’s not a knock on your employees—marketing is a massive umbrella that spans everything from top-level business strategy to SEO. Evaluate staff capabilities by taking a critical look at skills. Do they have the background and experience in creating strategies for branding, messaging or market evaluation? Are they intimately familiar with the market dynamics and key target personas? Are they skilled at qualitative and quantitative analysis? If yes, do they have the bandwidth to take on a major initiative?

Sometimes, the right choice is to engage a strategic marketing consultant to help build and execute a transformation plan. The same criteria for background and skill sets should apply. In addition, you should vet outside resources by looking at previous work and results, understanding their level of expertise in your markets, and evaluating the time frames, budget and engagement process. This will help you get exactly what you need to be successful.

Give Marketing A Seat

Business transformation affects the entire organization. Marketing’s contributions can help you choose the right opportunities, unearth new ones and deploy your plan effectively. Don’t lose out on that value—as soon as transformation is on the table, invite a strategic marketer to pull up a chair.

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