What are brands doing these days to thrive against the odds? Sometimes it’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time, and other times it’s due to a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
There’s no definitive formula for being successful in business, but it’s safe to say that your product or service should meet a need in the marketplace. Besides that one hard-and-fast rule, what else can a company do to increase growth?
Get Employees and Customers Invested
No, this isn’t necessarily referring to people owning stock in your brand. It does, however, refer to having happy employees and customers who care about the success of your brand. In 2017, Forbes shared a study that showed significant increases in productivity (20%) and sales (37%) when employees were happy in the workplace. Similarly, when customers have a good experience with your brand they are 81% more likely to purchase from your again.
The relationship between happy employees and happy customers is cyclical. Employees don’t like dealing with unhappy customers, and customers don’t like dealing with unhappy employees. When those interactions occur, it can feed into the negative feelings experienced by each person in the transaction, leading to high employee turnover or loss of a customer.
So what can be done to increase an employee’s investment in the growth of a company and a customer’s loyalty? Let’s explore some strategies.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you fire all human employees and replace them with robots. However, there are some tasks that, when automated, can increase the productivity of a business, and take some of the workloads off the shoulders of over-burdened employees.
Automation means having a computer program take over work that was previously done manually. Having a computer program take over some administrative tasks can increase efficiency for businesses large and small.
If you’re not sure what elements of your business you should consider automating, here are some suggestions.
Have you ever visited a website and had a little conversation bubble pop up on the home page? This is a type of chatbot designed to assist you as you navigate the site. Instead of searching through a menu to figure out how to make a purchase or process a return, a chatbot can get you started right off the bat, saving you time and hopefully increasing your satisfaction with the brand. In addition to chatbots, you can automate:
- Vacation quotes based on customer keywords in social media messages
- Retrieving or resetting lost passwords
- Auto-reply emails for customer inquiries that aren’t time-sensitive
- Order processing
You can also use automation to track customer behavior on your website to improve future experiences.
Managing Employee Productivity
There are numerous platforms for helping employees stay on task, and know what is expected of them. Additionally, these programs allow everyone to be aware of deadlines, and who needs to take a product through the next phase before it’s offered to the public. Automating calendars and tasks for employees can eliminate miscommunication, and make it easier for everyone to see what needs to be done, and when.
Here are some highly-rated platforms for managing employee productivity and business calendars:
If you’re on the fence about having technology take over tasks, Sequoia Group makes a good case for why automation is worth the investment.
Thanks to offering a product that meets existing needs in the marketplace, having happy, productive employees, and the automation of certain tasks, your brand is ready to launch! But how do you get your message to the right audience? The answer is targeted marketing. Having a strong marketing campaign is based on research and the implementation of various strategies:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Webpage and social media content/copy
- Targeted ads (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google search pages, etc…)
- Webpage development
All of these elements are meant to show the Internet that you’re an authority regarding your product or service. As a result, when potential customers do a web search for your product, you can rank among the first results either organically or thanks to investing in ads. If you don’t think marketing is something you can handle in-house, search for a reputable company that can handle this task for you.
If you’re wondering how another brand is already so well-established in the market, they have probably implemented the Ansoff Growth Matrix.
Within the Ansoff Matrix, there are a number of strategies for both low- and high-risk growth.
Market Penetration Strategy (low-risk)
This strategy aims to increase the number of sales of an existing product. The brand employs tactics for drawing customers away from competitors, via sales, incentives, or superior product/service.
Market Development Strategy
For this, a brand looks for a new market in which to sell an existing product. For example, is it possible to sell business-to-business vs solely bustiness-to-consumer (or vice versa)?
Product/Service Development Strategy (high-risk)
A riskier growth strategy is to develop and launch all new products in an existing market. Can you create and offer something that complements existing products, and relies on customer loyalty to generate revenue?
In addition to launching a new product, now you’re going to find a new market in which to sell it. There are different types of diversification:
Horizontal Diversification: The new products/services will be offered to existing customers, utilizing strategies to beat the competitors. A brand selling pens distinguishes itself by featuring a comfortable grip and smooth writing every time, and now they’re going to add notebooks to their list of products offered in an attempt to diversify horizontally.
Vertical Diversification: This is the strategy of merging with or purchasing a business in the brand’s supply chain. Moving more of the product production in-house saves on manufacturing and distribution costs. For example, our favorite brand of pens now owns the company from which they source the ink for their product.
Concentric Diversification: The new products or services offered by a brand are similar to what the brand already offers. Instead of only selling ballpoint pens, a brand now offers gel pens as well.
Conglomerate Diversification: This strategy involves offering a product or service that is unrelated to the existing ones. Instead of only selling pens, a brand we trust has branched out to sell laptops.
As companies fine-tune their data collection and analysis strategies, they learn more about consumers than has been possible before. As a result, they can brave higher-risk growth strategies such as developing new products and services. Usually, a company would aim to simply sell more of what they already have; but a diversification strategy is now not as risky as it once was.
Customers can also learn more about brands they love, thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Being able to see the behind-the-scenes of a brand can generate stronger customer loyalty. As a result, customers are more willing to branch out and purchase new products from a brand they trust. The customers already know and love “product A,” so what’s stopping them from loving “product B” as well?
With thorough data analysis, a company can decide which diversification strategy to implement in order to increase revenue through new customer acquisition and/or customer retention. A growing company knows to focus on a single diversification strategy at a time in order to achieve the best results.