Core to a brand’s revenue growth is a disciplined and methodical Go to Market strategy. This is the first post in an 8-week series outlining the framework elements of a successful Go to Market strategy. We begin with an introduction to a strong foundation, the evolution of the classic marketing mix (“The 4 P’s”), and the first principle all founders need to internalize.
Thank you for your interest in this topic. We welcome your feedback and comments, and the opportunity to help you on your journey.
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Hidden beneath the soil, the root system of a tree is the origin of its strength, stability, and capacity to flourish. A nourished root system raises a tree that produces a bountiful yield. Conversely, a deprived root system can compromise the tree’s ability to produce at all. Above the soil, the sun provides light and energy to complete nature’s process for its beauty and personality to be expressed in all its glory.
What does this have to do with how a consumer packaged goods brand brings its products to market? In similar fashion, the root system for a brand must be strong and healthy for the brand to prosper. Each root is an integral part of a brand’s path to not just bear fruit, but to flourish.
Consider the classic marketing matrix of the 4 Ps: Product, Place, Price & Promotion. The fundamentals of the Four Ps are still relevant, but the dynamics surrounding them have evolved –
It's a bit analogous to how legacy CPG companies are attempting to evolve and industrialized food processing systems designed for efficiency & scale are becoming a bit of a liability. Changing consumer demands, cultural shifts, and the speed of technology have created great strain on these organizations to adapt, loosen, and even cut ties to the products and supply chain models of the past to which their companies have been anchored.
As CPG companies test new business models, one-on-one dialogues with consumers via social media create a new currency, and ecommerce is redefining point of purchase and point of sale, so too it is time for the “go to market” model to transform and align to current culture & market dynamics. It’s time for a model that is purpose- and outcome-centric – a model which seeks to engage with and inspire people to accept and integrate a brand into their lives, routines, and lifestyles, while cultivating consumer trust and loyalty.
We believe this new model is best represented by the root system of a tree, and more specifically, the pomegranate tree, for the symbolic abundance of its bounty.
Purpose: The Taproot of the Brand Model
A business PhD once said, “A business exists to serve a customer need profitably.” I think it’s more correct to say, “If a business does not serve its customers profitably, it won’t exist.” Actually, the reason an organization exists is its Purpose, its cause, a belief. A purpose is not a market need a product fills, nor the market opportunity, nor profits. The first two are means to the end, and profits are a result.
Marketing tactics, promotions, and discounts are motivators and manipulators that may affect short term behavior but don’t create sustainable, long term loyalty. An organization’s WHY is the reason to buy - WHAT a company sells serves as the tangible proof of that belief. Products give life to a cause and are symbols of what we believe.
If we don’t communicate a sense of WHY, we force buyers to make decisions with only empirical evidence – facts, figures, features, benefits, price. People buy on WHY because they are somehow intrinsically motivated or altruistically inspired to take on a cause and make it their own. They do it for themselves because it’s what they believe, resulting in a loyal and trusting consumer-brand relationship.
As Sinek teaches, the goal is not to sell your product to everyone; the goal is to engage with everyone who is driven toward your product’s mission, your product’s Purpose. Authentically communicating what you believe leads to attracting those who believe the same.
We can attempt to engage those who don’t see it the same way, but it takes a lot more effort, time and money. It is OK not to be everything to everyone. I’m not sure it’s possible anyway. Embrace who you are and what you stand for, how you differentiate, and be the best you, you can be; it’s far more fulfilling and gratifying.
Once the taproot of Purpose is clearly defined, articulated, and internalized, a strong root system can develop through which this purpose is expressed across all dimensions of the organization, including its products, its people, its messaging, and even its processes.
Truly knowing and living your purpose is crucial, but it doesn’t end there. In order for the company to stay true to and achieve its purpose, it must commit resources (human and financial capital) to initiatives, actions and policies that reflect the values of its purpose. Implicit in this statement, of course, is the need to define and develop those policies and initiatives. Saying something is your purpose is aspirational only until you take action. How, where and with whom you spend your time defines your priorities.
When developing a framework for your purposeful policies and actions, consider the entire spectrum of your stakeholders. A stakeholder is a party that has an interest in a company and can either affect or be affected by the business. Stakeholders include not just your customers, employees, suppliers, and investors, but the wider tent inclusive of the community in which you operate or are supplied by, the environment you impact by running your business, and even trade associations or the government.
One call out about stakeholders is that their self-interests may not always be aligned, or may even be in conflict. For example, a traditional investor’s objectives are to maximize profits and enhance shareholder value. Achieving these objectives alone often leads to practices and decisions that can negatively impact other stakeholders. In this example, finding social impact-oriented investors that align to your purpose is the first step towards avoiding that conflict (and in this case specifically, becoming a B-Corp gives companies the legal protection to pursue objectives other than profit maximization above all else). Not all stakeholder conflicts can be avoided so balancing their needs is a reality to anticipate.
The stakeholder topic is extensive and worth working with a corporate social responsibility advisor to truly understand all angles and implications. She or he can also help map out the threats and opportunities inherent in declaring your purpose, working with your stakeholders, and pursuing your WHY. Complimentary to this work also means taking a step back to objectively review your branding, marketing, and messaging – does it reflect your purpose? Is your message inspiring? Are your agencies, suppliers and materials aligned to your mission? It’s OK if they don’t share the exact same mission, but do they represent something in opposition to your mission through the values by which they define themselves?
Finally, consider whether your purpose will resonate with your target consumer and the trade. Once you know your WHY, will it matter to other people? Of course - if it matters to you it will likely matter to someone else. How many? Can you build a business based on it? Will enough people care? Does it matter to you how many people care? Does it matter to your stakeholders?....
Roots do not grow toward anything. Roots grow where the resources of life are available. Generally, they cannot grow where there is no oxygen or where the soil is compacted and hard to penetrate. Root growth is essentially opportunistic in its timing and its orientation. It takes place whenever and wherever the environment provides the water, oxygen, minerals, support, and warmth necessary for growth. So too do the roots for a business require the proper conditions to become strengthened. The core roots for a brand encompass its taproot, or Purpose, along with its transport roots: Positioning, People, Pathway, Production, Promotion, and Pricing. Nourishment for these brand roots flows through founders and their team when thoughtfully nurtured; each one with the right considerations and strategies. Each of these roots of brand prosperity will be explored in this series.
Next week: Product Strategy.
About The Author...
Michael Movitz has more than 25 years natural/organic products industry experience across retail, manufacturer, broker and market research organizations...