The best way to find new opportunities to fuel growth? Look to digital, risk, customer experience and innovation. Here are 4 specific ideas.
1. Create a better view of your customer. By now, there is no CEO who does not understand the value of having a centralized, 360-degree view of their customer. Achieving that, however, is another story. In addition to better meeting customer needs and building personalized experiences, Chris Wetmore, consulting director at RSM US LLP, said that doing so can help organizations create seamless support from engagement through to purchase and can lead to an increased customer base through better retention and customer referrals.
Tom Shapiro, CEO of marketing agency Stratabeat, added that because mid-marketers are under great pressure and lack the resources of larger organizations, they need to constantly uncover innovative, cost-effective marketing strategies. With the right view of their customers, Shapiro said mid-market companies can attain success with customer experience marketing, data-driven marketing, experiential and technology-based marketing.
2. Strive for full digital immersion. Peter Bowman of the Internet Advisory Board said we are entering a where organizations need to “get their online house in order” and that large companies are investing trillions in next-generation technology and that mid-marketers need to keep up. By leveraging the cloud and SaaS solutions, they can scale into powerful digital technologies. Further, robust digital analytics can allow organizations unparalleled visibility into all aspects of their business. “The time has come to develop a practical digital strategy and execute it online [where they will benefit from] fewer mistakes and more performance-oriented results,” said Bowman.
3. Take on risk. Few companies can grow without taking on some level of risk. Mid-marketers especially can benefit from taking strategic and highly-calculated risks. Mark Cotteleer at Deloitte Services LP said aversion to risk may prevent many attractive growth alternatives from even being considered. He said constantly gravitating toward what is safe and comfortable may crowd out higher-value growth choices. “Mid-market firms willing to take informed chances may be more likely to launch new products, enter new markets or attract higher quality talent, creating a powerful growth agenda.”
4. Formalize a process for innovation. Most mid-market growth continues to be driven by nimbleness and cultures that foster innovation, but sometimes it is done on the fly. Creating a formal process for cultivating, valuing and testing innovation can help lead mid-market companies from ideation to profitable ventures.
The ability to bring innovation to fruition is especially strong for manufacturers and that only one in four industrial firms that identify as less innovative reach or surpass 10%. What’s most important isn’t just innovation, but a formal process to manage it. Companies also need to “cast a wide net” when seeking and evaluating ideas. These companies also need to look for the support from their CFO and gain buy-in from the rest of the organization. By integrating your CFO early on in the innovation process…you can focus your efforts on profitable innovation.