If you weren’t already aware of the benefits of diversifying your business revenue, the last year has made it abundantly clear. Depending on limited sources of revenue including individual products or services, major clients, or markets, leaves you vulnerable. If something impacts your main revenue driver and you don’t have revenue streams that can offset the disruption, your business will feel it. It’s wise to make sure you don’t have too many eggs in one basket. Diversifying your revenue can lower your vulnerability and increase your potential for success.
For the sake of this blog, let’s also assume you understand marketing’s value and its ability to bridge the gap between your business and your current and potential clients. Maybe you don’t know how or why it works, but you know it can work. And that’s true, but (and it’s a big but): marketing is nothing without strategy.
You need a marketing strategy, and it needs to align with your business strategy to make it effective. Strategic marketing is like the king or queen of networking. Strategic marketing puts you in front of the right people at the right time and turns potential prospects that might not know or trust your business yet into current clients that wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. Marketing without strategy is like your cousin Dave introducing you to a bunch of random people at a party. It might make for great conversation, but it’s not the same as networking with the right people. It’s not going to help you grow your business, and if by chance it does, consider yourself very lucky.
So, you’re thinking of ways to diversify your revenue. You (hopefully) are planning to include some marketing efforts to make it a success. At this point, maybe you didn’t know you needed a strategy; you’re thinking strictly tactical. You ensure someone is posting something on social media, you sent out a handful of marketing emails last year, you’ve sponsored a few key conferences in the past, or your sales team always has access to the best swag. If so, here is why you do need a marketing strategy and why it should come in much earlier than you think:
When you want to expand your client base:
A marketing strategy provides a greater understanding of who your audience is, how their needs match up with what you have to offer, and the best ways to reach them. It’s entirely likely that there are potential clients out there that are looking for precisely what you have to offer but haven’t found you yet or don’t know your business well enough. An effective marketing strategy and plan maps out how to make those connections and build your reputation. It ensures that your marketing meets potential clients where they are and drives up the potential for high-quality leads instead of aimlessly broadcasting your message and hoping someone finds you.
When you want to launch a new product or service:
A marketing strategy can play two distinct roles in launching a new product or service. The first is in development. A marketing strategy can inform the shape of a product or service to best suit the audience you want to attract. Even if it’s a new product or service for your current clients, strategic marketing can help ensure the final version is designed to meet your existing clients’ needs. The second is in launching and promoting your new product or service. It’s never enough just to have something new, and using word of mouth is rarely the fastest or most effective way of ensuring the right people discover what’s new about your business. Strategic marketing puts your new product or service in front of the right people.
When you want to enter a new market:
Much like when you’re trying to attract new clients in your current market, an effective marketing strategy helps bridge the gap between your offering and the new market you’re trying to enter. You’ll gain an even better understanding of the market, the needs of those clients within it, and how to reach them effectively. Marketing and sales efforts that work in one market may not be as effective in another, but a marketing strategy can help identify and address any variables to ensure your efforts remain targeted. Marketing can help with research, insights, and approaches on reaching and educating a new audience, so your brand is top of mind when they are ready to buy.
If you want to diversify your revenue, don’t forget to build a marketing strategy and project plans.
Going after new clients, new markets, or launching new products and services are all investments of time and money. Developing a marketing strategy and accompanying implementation plans as part of these efforts will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing and significantly reduce wasted time and money. The returns on your marketing efforts will go up, and so will your chance of success in whatever way you’re trying to move your business forward.