Never have we witnessed an NBA team come from a 3-1 deficit in the finals and win no just the championship, but they beat the prior year’s champions in a series that goes to the wire. Their tenacity, drive, and grit to come back, as well as the joy,  are on full display.

Nor have we ever observed a women’s college team win four national championships back-to-back, for a total of 11 basketball championships. Their determination, persistence and consistency are on display and is unmatched.

The Cleveland Cavilers have just tasted success as champions for the first time. As a sports team, they brought home the first championship to their city in over 50 years. What an awesome accomplishment that will shape their future.

The Connecticut Women Huskies have tasted success 11 times overall. It’s a program that has had phenomenal success.  Many teams who have won one championship wonder how to duplicate it.

Neither of these accomplishments is easy. Cleveland just got it’s first win under its belt. It was a huge challenge. Getting the right players who have the same goals and objectives, and who buy into the strategy to win was critical. The members understood each other’s strengths, found ways to close the gaps, and learned how to grow together. The hard work and sacrifices were worth it. The strategy worked and success is sweet.

Now they want to do it again.

The Huskies have figured out how to repeat success. They know how to communicate the values for success and how to pass down the skills development process, on and off the court, to successive team members. Competitors change and get better. Sometimes the team doesn’t achieve their goal, but their persistence in understanding the gaps, and determining when to take risks, think out-of-the-box, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable allows them to make the adjustments to get back on track. In short, they’ve figured out how to institutionalize success, learn from failure, and make lemonade.

All of these elements are aspects to create strategies for success.  Organizations which have a business strategy and integrate it with a marketing strategy can take that journey for success. They learn and respond to challenges and institutionalize the process for success, positioning them for long-term growth.

Chapter 5

Over the course of this five-part series, we’ve talked about what mysteries have in common with business, three things that contribute to business success, defined what is a business strategy, and in the last article, what is a marketing strategy.

Today’s article, the final in this series, will pull it all together and focus on:

  • Business Strategy and Marketing Strategy Connection
  • Benefits of Integration
  • Success is Contagious

Business Strategy and Marketing Strategy Connection

Connection_Photo Credit Amanda Smith

Connection. Photo Credit: Amanda Smith.

For mystery writers or any writer, it’s exciting to be an author who gets their book published. The first book is often about the passion the writer has for writing and the characters in the book. By getting it published, they entertain their audience and derive income. For the publisher, they want to introduce a new book, share a new voice, and drive revenue. If the author is successful with the first book, the author and publisher now to need to take a long-term view and repeat the process on a scale that may turn into a multi-book contract.

Business owners and nonprofit organization follow a similar trajectory. Taking the business strategy, which clearly defines what the business problem is you’re solving for customers, you’re able to integrate it with the marketing strategy to penetrate new markets. The integrated strategies also help you understand the visible changes and not so visible changes in the market and make adjustments.

In illustration mentioned in the first article, the business owner, Catherine, has just taken over the family business. Her sales team thought a major deal would close in the quarter. Instead, the customer declined to pursue the deal. For many organizations, they know who their competitors are, the price-points, and what features they win on versus the competition. What they may not know is a new competitor has entered the market, the product has reached a tipping point where the customer views price as the decision point and the product just has to be “good enough.”  It could be the case a competitor quietly decided to acquire a competitor or another company to reposition their business to enter a new market.

Companies that build a business strategy and integrate it with their marketing strategy grant themselves the chance to identify market shifts often before their competitors do. It gives them time to consider how they will respond to the changes. As the organization executes their marketing strategy, they gain insights into what’s working. When things aren’t working, that isn’t the time to stop investing in marketing. Instead, it’s the time to dig in and understand what isn’t working.

For Catherine, it could mean talking to customers to understand how they perceive the product. Insights could help identify a new product or provide a roadmap on how to reinvent a product. New messaging leads to repositioning a product or uncovering new influencers or decision makers. Clarity on whether a market is saturated or investment in a new market is needed. A decision to exit the business may key to avoid an adverse decline in revenue.

Benefits of Integration

Opportunity. Photo Credit and Brendon Burchard Quote

Opportunity. Photo Credit: [email protected]

Team Alignment. The integrated business strategy and marketing strategy will cause the team to talk continuously to each other and make adjustments to execute the plan. With the clear alignment of the mission, goals, and objectives, the focus shifts to solving the problem because everyone has a stake in the success of the company.

Challenges represent new opportunities to become unstuck. For Catherine’s company, the lost sale could be the catalyst for the team to take the customer insights, use the market analysis to spot new trends, and review competitors to consider how viable the current market will be over the next couple of years. If it becomes less profitable, it may be time to reposition the product, and or the company, and pivot to a new market. Starting the process before the floor has dropped out of the revenue will give the company the time and money to reinvent itself and unstuck over the long-term.

A roadmap of measured results. Building and updating your business strategy and marketing strategy on a yearly basis gives you insights into what’s working internally within your company. The metrics will serve as a feedback loop to provide information on whether you exceeded or overestimated revenue growth. Each year you will deepen your knowledge about market changes, competitors, potential disruptors. The organization will know what it does well and where the gaps are in your strategy. Identification of new investment opportunities and skills development will help you scale your growth.

Establish new relationships. As the market changes and matures, existing relationships with customers and partners change. Some customers will move on because they may outgrow your products and services. Other customers may remain, yet become less profitable. Every business needs to maintain the relationship with existing customers while investing in finding new customers, yet remain open to changing their products and services as their customers evolve. That may mean changing the way customers order their products to align with the way new customers order products, while extending this new capability to existing customers a new service, as appropriate to maintain competitiveness in the market.

New partnerships may be the way to grow the company. It could mean a joint venture with another company to expand your skills and capabilities. In other cases, it could mean partnering with a competitor in a new market where you both have something the other doesn’t, while continuing to compete in existing markets.

Success is Contagious

Success. Photo Credit Cristinel Anghelus.

Success. Photo Credit: Cristinel Anghelus.

Just as an author wants to publish a successful book, a business owner wants success and growth. For some business owners, growth could be making enough to have a little left over at the end of the year. Other business owners may want to growth exponentially.

Whatever the desire, an integrated business and marketing strategy provides a company with the room to work on your business, not just in your business.  It provides you with choices.

It enables you to elevate your game to achieve success. Once you’ve had a taste of success, you want to build on it, making it contagious for your team.

Mystery solved.

Let me know what choices an integrated business strategy and marketing strategy would enable you to make for your business. Leave your comment below or email us at [email protected].  Or pick up the phone to call—as strategy nerds, we’re ready to help you solve your business mysteries.

Carla A. Fleming is the Founder and Chief Strategist for Renewable Marketing, a marketing strategy firm. Contact us today to set-up a 30-minute Discovery Session and learn how we can help you cultivate your business.