By Bill King
What is your growth strategy? Are you focused on trying to expand market share in your current area of expertise? Maybe you’ve got a new product coming out of R&D efforts? Or you’re making a channel move down the value chain from selling product to providing services and a broader solution sale? Have you considered selling to new customers in adjacent industries? Or are you pursuing mergers or acquisitions to fuel growth?
Chances are in the water and wastewater industry, your growth strategy contains a healthy mix of all of these. Just as your rep network continues to bid jobs and win and lose in the battle for a larger share of the municipal water and wastewater business, your product development team are busy at work preparing the next version of your product to be introduced at next year’s tradeshows.
When thinking about how you are marketing your company, brand and products, it’s important to spend the time untangling your growth strategies from each other. By doing so, it will help you prioritize where to spend your brand publishing time and effort for maximum effect. For each growth objective, assess the size of the opportunity, its importance, how success will be measured and who is accountable.
Once you’ve prioritized each growth strategy, you need to understand who the audience is that you need to influence. If you plan to move into a new market, identify the job titles and functions of the professionals involved in considering, recommending and ultimately purchasing your solution. They're likely to be different from the market you’re currently established in. Understand their specific role in the specifying and purchasing of product and capture information on their geographical location and channel partners and influencers.
With each growth objective prioritized and audience for each identified, you can begin to plan out your content strategy. Determine your audience’s media consumption preferences including type of content, length, technical complexity and scope. Working with publishers in the market with a history of understanding reader needs is a great way to get started. You’ll invariably need to create content aligned with where your readers are in their buying process. You may be adept at creating datasheets and application notes for your product line but have never invested in the “top of funnel” content required to help prospective customers understand that they have a problem in the first place or that there’s a new way to think about a traditional process.
Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed your growth strategy from a what, who and how perspective, you will be ready to invest in the brand publishing and other content activities necessary to support your growth efforts.
Image credit: "Young seedling," Ales Kladnik, 2016, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/