(Aug. 14, 2009) — In his Perspective column [“Marketing shares some blame,” July 6, Page 6], Rance Crain calls attention to the role of marketing in the current economic slump. I'd like to zero in on the summary paragraph at the end, particularly this part: “A company should stick to its core mission.”
Sticking to the mission is rule No. 1 for success in manufacturing, whether we're talking about operations, growth strategy or marketing. Without a clear mission, any company is destined to stumble by wasting resources and time chasing down fleeting trends and stretching itself thin.
Especially in this era of limited resources and global competition, focused expertise is more important than ever. But at the same time, you're going to need to do more than stick to the mission to maintain a competitive advantage. You have to seize the mission — exploit your niche.
If you're trying to grow your company here in the states, you're faced with the challenge of taking a greater percentage of a limited market. If you're looking outside the country for growth, you're going to have to find a way to move into emerging markets.
In either case, you won't win with a passive approach. You need to target a unique niche and tell a strong, differentiating story about why customers should choose your company. Event participation and sponsorship, database marketing and, of course, print and online advertising are just a few of the ways you can spread the word about your unique value.
So reflect, for a moment, on your company's basic reason for being. What do you make or do that customers want to buy and that they can't easily get elsewhere? Many smart companies are already reinventing themselves in this way. They're finding new ways to expand offers and solve new problems. Maybe your company is, too.
Nevertheless, it's equally important to compare what you're doing to how your company actually is perceived in the marketplace.
If what customers think of your company doesn't line up with the niche value you're aiming for, then you have some work to do.
Yes, it's time to recommit to the mission. But it's also time to refocus on what sets your company apart, and to exploit your niche in everything you do and say.
Scheibel Halaska Inc.