13 Nov 2013

Mapping your route to growth

MRA Director Lucia Di Stazio says sustainable growth only comes when you know where you’re going

Growth isn’t just important for businesses – it’s essential. The moment a company stops growing, it starts shrinking. If it continues to shrink, it starts dying. So you have to constantly create some growth to make good the inevitable loss of some customers who grow old, die, buy less or move away. It’s like walking up the down escalator. It’s very hard to remain in the same place. The minute you stop to take a breather you slip back, and when you think you’re standing still you’re actually sliding down.

When the economy is growing, banks are lending and consumers feel flush, almost any marketing and PR works. Failure is erased by rising markets. But as billionaire investor, Warren Buffet said: “it’s only when the tide goes out you can see who is swimming naked.”

Of course, most businesses want to achieve much more than the bare minimum level of growth needed to stay in the game. Most businesses actively want to grow and want to grow significantly!

But most companies aren’t growing, they’re in the doldrums. In fact, most companies’ business models aren’t working. Business models are designed to work in a particular market at a particular time, so they probably once worked well. But markets change. Sometimes they change imperceptibly and your business model is good for years. But we’ve been through a period of intense disruption. Our market is nothing like what it was five years ago. It is smaller and more crowded. The standards products must meet are more demanding. Homeowners are pickier, and their priorities have shifted. The internet has changed the way we buy, and competition has forced prices lower. Markets are less homogenous and more polarised. Demand has dropped off a cliff for some products, while others are growing staggeringly fast.

In a stagnant or shrinking market like the window and door industry, your competitor’s growth comes at your expense. Any business that is serious about growth must recognise it’s going to have to fight for it, and come up with effective strategies to help it win. So, is your marketing improving your performance and relative position, just helping you stay afloat, or is it adding to costs and holding you back? What is your marketing doing? What should it be doing? You need to know where you’re going and how to get there to achieve sustainable, long-term profitable growth.

MRA Marketing aims to help companies grow, but you can’t grow if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong products and services. So, we spend the greater part of every customer meeting reviewing markets, trends and the drivers for change, the competition and relative performance. We review where growth is and how we can help customers develop relative advantage and move them into growth hotspots. Only when that’s done do we review the campaigns to take them there. Get the direction and route map right and everything else follows.

To find out how MRA Marketing can help you grow contact Lucia Di Stazio on 01453 521621 or email lucia@mra-marketing.com.

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