Promotion of New Products to New Markets

Promotion of New Products to New Markets is the complete process of bringing a new product or service to markets previously unaware of this product or service. New product promotion involves ongoing advertising and publicity.

Don’t Let Homogenization Lead to Cookie Cutter Geographic Expansion

LinkedInTwitterGoogle+FacebookShare

Geographic Expansion

With 400 locations, Giraffas® is the second largest chain of restaurants in Brazil. In 2011, Giraffas® executives concluded that it was time to expand into the United States. They didn’t want to compete head on with McDonald’s. Even though their menu includes hamburgers, they went with a “fast casual” concept instead of just “fast food.” They don’t have waitresses, but guests can buy steak, salmon, specialty sandwiches or fancy Brazilian specialties in addition to burgers. They are currently getting ready to launch their 8th US location (in Florida). Giraffas® is an example of adapting a model when the growth strategy involves geographic expansion. They could see the need to adapt when looking at the USA from BRAZIL. They have started in Florida. Let’s hope they know that Florida can feel like its own country when compared to Texas or Minnesota.

Many of the chains that use a nationwide menu need to localize their marketing. Applebee’s has one menu, but the walls of each restaurant have posters, news clippings, banners and photos of local sports teams. They want you and me to think in terms of “your neighborhood Applebee’s.” When you Google “Applebee’s” and click through to their website, the home page features the address and information about the special events at the location near you. They know where you live!

As our consulting firm expanded from the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States into the southeastern and Midwestern regions, we needed to add a reasonable number of employees who didn’t talk so fast and were comfortable with words/phrases like “y’all,” “you take care now, ya’ hear?” and “have a blessed day.” Also, it was more than that. Embracing differences in time management, family values and the open discussion of religion, etc. helped.

Our expansion into Europe involved hiring local “pathfinders” who knew the countries, local customs, politicians, educators and business leaders. It also involved language lessons, legal fees and tailored marketing campaigns.

When you travel to most locations in the United States now, the strip malls look the same. The condominium communities look alike. Chain restaurants can be found everywhere. If you base your geographic expansion on what you see, you can make some expensive errors. Things seem to be fairly homogeneous across this country…until you relocate (live) in a different region for an extended period of time. You cannot convince me that a marketing campaign that was tailored to the people who live in BANGOR (Maine) will be as effective for people in BROOKLYN (New York) or BOISE (Idaho).

 

How Can Changes in Technology Influence Growth Strategy Decisions?

No matter what industry you are in, advances in technology influence what your growth strategies should be.

Maybe you don’t view your company as directly related to technology. Perhaps you sell things like paper products, over the counter medications, or canned or bottled foods. The reality is, each year’s flu season drives increased sales for Kleenex tissues, Charmin’ toilet paper, Chap Stick lip balm, TheraFlu, Halls cough drops, Vicks Vapo Rub, Canada Dry ginger ale, Joy Mangano’s cotton and bamboo blend blankets, Hallmark get well cards, and Campbells chicken noodle soup. The flu even impacts which items are purchased from the Home Shopping Network.

If your company is involved with these and similar products, you may not be happy to learn about progress being made by Dr. Rider and his team at MIT, but you do need to know about it. An article by Scott Tarone in the September 2013 issue of TECHLIFESCINEWS shares information about DRACO, which is a double stranded RNA activated caspase oligomerizer that has been successful against 15 different viral infections including the H1N1 flu virus!

If customers tend to purchase and use your products when they are feeling well, you need to know about DRACO too. You might decide to establish higher market penetration goals.

If you don’t think that something like DRACO is relevant, maybe a better question is whether someone from your team should attend the annual CES event. Their advertisement in the Sept 2013 issue of WIRED magazine accurately describes the event as “It’s a Lab. A Social Phenomenon. A Marketplace and a Look into the Future.” This global stage for innovation will be in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 7-10 in 2014.

What your team members read is also important. If your business is influenced by techno gadgets, maybe someone in your company should be reading Liszewski’s Gizmodo blog.

Think about it. The formulation of growth strategy includes rethinking: your company’s positioning, products/services, customers & market, competition, and business model. We all need to be informed about technological advances before making these big decisions. Who is leading and coordinating the research effort for your organization?

[video] Lessons from the Plights of Associations

What Role Does Loyalty Play in Your Organization?

This will inevitably be one of those blogs where I ask you to think rather than provide a firm answer. It’s just that I’ve noticed some business people getting into trouble with loyalty issues recently.

In one situation, the CEO seems to view loyalty as belonging to him.  In his mind, the board members, the employees, the vendors, the customers are all supposed to be loyal to him. That often means that anyone who disagrees with him isn’t being loyal. A consultant who is paid to provide an objective viewpoint is quickly dismissed if his/her conclusion isn’t that this CEO is always right. He denies that this is true, but it is so obvious to everyone else.

In another organization, the millennial generation employees are not inclined to be loyal to anyone but themselves. They have seen their Baby Boomer parents suddenly let go and their retirement savings reduced when the financial industry imploded. They don’t trust that Social Security will be there for them when they retire. They may like what they do, but loyalty to the company or the employer isn’t even an option.

The CEO of another client organization resists loyalty to him.  He wants people to be loyal to the business, its mission and the results it achieves. He is concerned about where the company would be if loyalty is aimed at him and he is suddenly killed in a car accident or develops prostate cancer like his father did.

Often it is the truly visionary leaders, like Steve Jobs, who can generate loyalty for both them and the company. Nido Quebein seems to be able to spark that dual loyalty (for the CEO and the organization) as the Provost of High Point University in North Carolina. But that is rare these days.  Too many CEOs view themselves as visionary because they enjoy doing new things. But if they are indecisive inconsistent leaders, they will get superficial loyalty from employees and vendors.

Do you know the role loyalty plays in your company?

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, talk show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™.  Ambler is wrapping up her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line talk show at www.Business. VoiceAmerica. com and www.growthstrategistshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

If You Decide to Take a Chance and Develop a Truly Innovative Product

A lingering recession is actually a very good time to introduce exciting new products.  Continuing to provide the same old thing just doesn’t do it. But a product that truly represents “value add”, advanced technology, or ease of use garners the attention of even the most cash tight customers.

But this may be the first real innovation your well established midsized company has done in a long long time. If so, it pays to focus your attention on a small group of your most desirable customers (the sweet spot). Beta tests can be done for people you truly care about and the product can be tweaked until it is really ready to launch.  A broader launch is much easier and more successful if you can confidently brag about the premiere customers who chose to embrace your new product.  Frankly, most customers are followers and won’t take a chance on a new product until leaders endorse it. And the percentage of followers increases during tight economic times.

Breakeven and ROI can be difficult to project if product development isn’t an ongoing part of your daily lives, so it pays to learn from companies with a track record of successful product launches. They immediately measure the time, effort, and cost involved in developing a new product and winning first wave early adopter premiere customers.  And then they measure the time, effort, and costs associated with attracting their followers.

If it’s been a long time since you launched a truly innovative product, you may not like the numbers that are generated when you measure these things but you do need to know. It’s important to have some faith in your capacity to improve.  With information, each subsequent product launch can be more cost efficient.   The ROI on product launches becomes easier to calculate with each innovation.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST™. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions. Her midsized BtoB service, technology, and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, radio show, speaking, search) help privately held midsized companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability™.  Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer on line program at www.Business.VoiceAmerica. com and www.growthstrategistradioshow.com that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. Family owned businesses are being emphasized in 2011. Ambler is in the process of launching her 8th enterprise. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

Are You Ready to Live Above The Radar?

As the President/CEO of a $20+Mil/yr company, you now live above the radar. You’ve been successful and others are watching to see what your next move will be. You used to drive the growth of your business, identify candidates for acquisition, target key accounts, introduce new products/services, and pace your growth.  Now other entities seem to be approaching you with offers to purchase, merge, or align.

In some ways that feels good because you don’t always have to come up with the ideas.  Others bring them to you.  You’ve become a bit of a celebrity. You are invited to serve on boards, chair fund raising events, and do media interviews. You are asked to speak to business school students or be a panelist at industry conferences.  You’ve even considered authoring a book or going out on a speaking tour.

I have found that many executives aren’t ready to live above the radar. When their businesses were smaller, there was less presumption that they would know what to do.  There was more room for error. It didn’t feel like every move was being watched.  The limelight can actually be distracting and becomes an excuse to not address strategic issues.  Some executives seem to believe all of the hype in their own press clippings and start to coast. Do you really know how to execute an initial public offering? Do you really know what’s expected of a CEO over a $ Bil/yr enterprise?

Take a moment to ask yourself if the limelight is setting you back. You or your company may have won some prestigious awards, but are your executive leaders wondering if they will continue to deserve awards that honor excellence, innovation, and profitability? You may have a strong executive team in place and annual strategic planning retreats, but somehow does it feel like a lot of hard work with too little ROI for the executives?  Have you carefully selected and trained managers, but they just don’t seem to have the same sense of urgency so deadlines that had never been missed before are at risk? Even if you are not ready to retire, you know that your strategic plan should consider succession and options for an exit strategy, but you keep putting that topic off. Does your midsized company have new systems in place, like daily huddles and key metrics/dashboard, but you know that something is missing?

Is Participative Strategic Planning Like a Rubik’s Cube®?

The President of one of our client companies recently opened a meeting with the observation that strategic planning feels a lot like playing with a Rubik’s Cube®. Remember that toy?  His hands turned in multiple directions as he reassured his team members:

“We’ll all be messing with just about everything in the strategic planning process from product development to marketing to production to accounting. But the good news is that we all know what the Rubik’s Cube® will look like in the end, and it won’t all come apart in the process.”

That was an impressive analogy. This particular team needed the reassurance. The company enjoyed a large market share for some time and hadn’t felt the need for repositioning strategy until now.

In many ways, a well-managed participative strategic planning process is a great deal like a Rubik’s Cube® because things won’t come apart while “everything is being messed with.”

However, the discovery and creative elements of participative strategic planning are NOT like the Rubik’s Cube®. Developing a positioning strategy early in the process can be equivalent to knowing the “secret” to the middle square on each side of the Rubik’s Cube®.  It provides a sense of direction, but you really are not completely certain about how everything will turn out when the plan is completed.

For this client, we know that they will be adding new products to their mix. Do we know exactly which ones before research and decisions are made? No. We know that they will be moving into a new organizational structure. Do we know the exact job description for each new role and the names of the people filling new positions? No.

If your team members are the type of people who want to be provided detailed maps for their trip to __(place)__ and would preview the video tour of the city before committing to travel anywhere, increase the emphasis on exploration, discovery, and creativity so they can enjoy the journey.

Why go through a participative process for strategic planning if all you want to do is copy what someone else has already done?  In this day and age, you would just be setting yourselves up to be BEHIND!

How Do You React When a New Competitor Comes Into Your Niche?

You just launched a new product aimed at your niche market. You thought you had a great head start, but today you learned about a very similar product being promoted to the same niche by a new competitor.

So what is your reaction?

It’s amazing how many companies overreact and immediately shift their marketing and pricing. If your marketing campaign featured the language of a market leader a few days ago, wouldn’t you look a bit paranoid if you suddenly shifted to “challenger” language?  Why point out the limitations of the competitor’s product? If they are relatively new, they may not recognize their limitations, and you will just be teaching them how to compete against you. Why automatically lower your price?  If you are really tempted to do that, perhaps you need to improve your product instead.

Maybe the “new competitor” could actually become a resource for you.  Having a new competitor in your niche market may be an indication that you should speed up your product development cycle.  If the competitor has demonstrated an interest in your niche and a capacity to produce a high quality product, maybe it’s time to learn about their capabilities.  Who knows? They could become a subcontractor, a joint venture partner, or a candidate for acquisition…with you still in the leader position within your niche.

Stop Waiting for Teleseminars – Learn from Your Peers While on the Treadmill

Here’s a suggestion for busy Presidents/CEOs of midsized businesses (especially $20 – $200 Mil/yr) who

  • feel that your time is STILL your scarcest resource
  • recognize the need to feed your mind, learn, stretch, grow
  • find relevant teleseminars but then can’t participate because they run at the same time you are involved in important meetings
  • know you need to exercise but are going to the gym less often
  • have been tempted to attend an Inc. Conference on Growth…

Why not download free online radio shows onto your iPod to take to the gym? Take shows featuring interviews with your peers on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held companies who are sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. 

Most of you, the readers of my blog and Twitter tweets, know that I have been hosting a peer-to-peer-to-peer online radio show The Growth Strategist™ for 5 years now. We rotate through various geographic locations, industries, and growth strategies.  One week, my show might feature an interview with the President of a Singapore-based retail company that has grown through franchising. The next show may be with the CEO of a Kansas City-based manufacturer sharing success tips about how they’ve grown through acquisitions.

Many of the guests on my show are on the Inc. 500 (or at least the Inc. 5000) list of the fastest growing privately held companies. They are bright, ambitious, somewhat intense, fabulous leaders….just like you. The show is #2 in its category and attracts over 180,000 listeners.

I have LOVED hosting the show.  How can the discussion of growth strategies between people who actually live the journey EVER be boring?!

I open each show with some tips on the growth strategy-of-the-week gleaned from my 30+ years of experience as a growth strategist helping midsized companies earn and keep their spot on the Inc. 500 while increasing their profitability. Many of you know that I have also won over two dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth across 3 recessions of my own midsized businesses. So I share examples from my own journey as well.

It’s been 5 years so my website, www.TheGrowthStrategist.com, and the station’s website (www.business.voiceamerica.com) now have over 200 downloadable shows (podcasts if you prefer) available for you to download onto your mp3 players and take to the gym.  Our research shows that most listeners do that or they listen to the show between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am as they do their last round of email “after the spouse and the kids have gone to sleep for the night”. The only reason you would break from an important meeting to listen to the live broadcasts each Tuesday at 11:00 am EST would be if you wanted to ask a question.  Most listeners send emails with questions to me and my guests following the shows. It’s NOT like traditional radio broadcasts where listening at the exact time of the live broadcast represents your only opportunity.

Why wait for teleseminars when you can download 5, 6, …sometimes as many as 10… timely peer level radio shows focused on a growth strategy you are using or have been considering, including

  • specialization
  • diversification
  • acquisitions and mergers
  • franchising and licensing
  • new products/new markets
  • joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • equity deals and IPOs
  • several others….

I did a series of shows earlier this year about ‘HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL” and another on “THE CHANGING IMPACT OF REAL ESTATE ON STRATEGIC GROWTH DECISIONS”.

You can suggest topics, offer to be a guest, or recommend someone else you think might be an interesting guest.  The toll free number is 1-888-Aldonna and the email is Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

Growth Strategy Tip

Testimonials

I really appreciated your time and wisdom... Yes, we are all on a journey, and I found your view of it visionary and inclusive.

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D.
Stoneman, Chandler & Miller LLP

Schedule a FREE initial consultation with Aldonna to find out how she can help you work through your challenges and take your business to the next level. Click Here