WITH the continued economic downturn, it’s easy to get myopic about defending client accounts, revenues and profitability.
Look a little deeper, though, and there is a compelling call to action to stop and think about what activities will sustain and grow your business.
Ask yourself, are you keeping up? Do you offer the same as or better than your competitors.
When enhancing the existing offering isn’t going to achieve results you seek, consider diversification of either offerings or markets served. Product and service innovation is typically incremental; however, sources of opportunity vary by nature of business of course.
In the digital sector, opportunities often arise from the integration of ideas and solutions with purposeful overlap – transaction software with a mobile lifestyle app, or a database system with a distributed software as a service (SaaS) concept.
In my case, I am working to merge gaming design systems with best practice in web-hosted SaaS principles.
Here are some thoughts on how to explore choices in products, service development and diversification.
Consider and evaluate your drivers for diversification. Are you successful in aspects of your business? If so, what is your true sustainable competitive advantage? If less so, explore why you are not achieving your goals.
What can be learnt, enhanced and improved? Talking to customers on both counts regarding their experiences and opinions is invariably helpful.
Consider where you sit presently in the value chain of your industry. What is your market and brand positioning? Is your company able to adapt from being a specialist subcontractor to a product-based company, for example?
Explore different diversification strategies; should you develop your own new resources and assets, build collaborations with other market operators or even acquire another business. Assess the relative benefits of vertical integration versus outsourcing.
Use a simple objective process for evaluating your strengths and weaknesses against key benefits you are seeking from opportunities.
In conclusion, in any climate it is important to consider your fundamental offering.
Take time to reconsider your marketing strategy, revamp your marketing and sales initiatives and resource allocation.
It’s a great time to explore what contemporary marketing tools can do for you; start collaborations, share costs, and negotiate better deals with your suppliers.
:: Paul Sutherland is a chartered marketer and director of Newcastle agency M.Ology