And you know what that means.
- Looking at what you spent last year and seeing what worked, what didn’t (and why)
- Investigating ways to streamline resources, budget, yet get more impact
- Seeing where to invest to ‘move the needle’ so your organization/company can get more sales, be acquired, raise more money
Let’s be honest. It’s stressful. Boards want justification for the money you (your company) spent and why. Investors want the same, but, they want to know the ROI and when they are going to start seeing greater returns. Employees are wanting more. . .higher salaries, greater benefits (but the costs keep going up) and more perks. The marketplace is tough. More and more companies are entering your space and the noise is getting LOUDER.
One thing we hear time and again from CEOs is that they don’t have a clear message. Their sales people can’t clearly articulate their company story. Neither can their employees, their executive staff — and thereby their partners, investors and *customers* don’t really understand what they do, why they do it and how it helps them.
Sound familiar? It’s a real problem that is NOT going to go away.
We met with a company CEO recently who is a seasoned pro (been CFO of a Fortune 500 company) and now is leading a start-up. Try as he can – with his best connections – he continually hears the same reply from VCs. “You don’t have a clear or compelling message.” Or, “you are in a crowded market – and I don’t see how you are going to differentiate, stand-out and get customers.”
Does this hit home? I’m guessing it might.
One of the biggest problems companies have is talking about themselves. All. the. time. Their sales people do it, their customer service reps do it. Their executives do it. Every employee does it.
Why? Because they don’t have an industry narrative. They don’t talk about their industry, the megatrends going on within their space, the issues and challenges impacting *every single one of their customers and partners.* Therefore, they don’t have a voice in their market. They aren’t seen as thought leaders or visionaries.
There IS a solution to this. Take just a fraction of what you spend on marketing for 2018 and put it toward building your own industry narrative. We call it a “Strategic Narrative.” Having a Strategic Narrative changes the dialogue you, your executives, your sales folks, your engineers, developers, marketers, in fact, all your employees, can have with the constituents you care about nurturing.
It starts by identifying the mega trends going on in your marketplace. What are the real issues affecting your customers every single day? What is eating away at THEIR revenue and profits? And why? How can your company help contribute to bettering your customers and the industry as a whole?
It’s not about promoting yourself (i.e., your company). You need to stand taller and independently and share your vision for how together your industry can join forces to overcome these obstacles and create a better, more fruitful marketplace for all to share and benefit from.
And, guess what? In the process, you will have built not only a more loyal customer/partner base, but you will have succeeded in positioning you and your company as thought leaders and visionaries within your marketplace. What is the value of that? What investor, board member, customer, partner, employee or other key constituent wouldn’t want to be associated with an industry leader? I can’t think of one.
So, this year, when you are putting pen to paper (so to speak) and determining your budget, you should really consider the value of what you could get from building your own Strategic Narrative.
We have a book that lays out the whole process from start to finish. You can buy it on Amazon at (https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Guide-Strategic-Narrative-Marketing/dp/1478777575).
It might just be the best investment you’ll ever make.