Growth. It’s still the top mandate for every organization. Why? Perhaps work by PwC provides some insight. Since 1997, PwC has conducted a survey of CEOs to learn what they foresee in each coming year Over the years, the PwC research found there is a strong correlation between a chief executive’s expectations for their own organization’s growth and that of global GDP growth. Read on to learn more about growth opportunities, including:

  1. The importance of organizational and Marketing alignment
  2. The three criteria to evaluate when doing your Marketing plan self-assessment below
  3. How to effectively execute your growth strategy and achieve organizational growth goals

Where do companies go to find organic growth? Growth opportunities are typically found by participating in the following arenas:

  • Identifying and serving new needs of your existing customers. For example, if you are a security solution company, this might be developing a competitive offer that complements your portfolio to support new compliance or security requirements to protect data.
  • Tapping into emerging or evolving trends. For example, artificial intelligence or cloud-based services.
  • Pursuing new markets with an existing solution and/or service. For example, taking your product that has gained penetration in the pharmaceutical market and bringing it to the dietary supplements market.
  • Developing a new solution and entering a completely new market.

Often, analysis, such as purchase, competitive, and market analyses, are needed to inform and guide the selection of a growth strategy. Use the insights derived from the analysis to determine the best growth opportunities and how to best expand. Will your organization need to create new solutions, add more services, target new customers or markets, enter new geographies, etc., to achieve the growth strategy?

The growth strategy you choose significantly influences your organizational plan, and especially your Marketing plan.

For your Marketing plan to support growth opportunities, it cannot be built or implemented within a silo. It needs to be integrated and aligned with all functions of the organization and especially with the organization’s overall strategy and with the Sales team. To seize growth opportunities, Marketing needs to know organizational goals, the overarching strategy for achieving it, and how the leadership team will measure success.

So, does your Marketing plan enable your organization to implement a growth strategy? The reason we ask is because many Marketing plans we have seen are built on things companies have done in the past. If an organization’s growth strategy has changed but the Marketing plan is static, there will be a growth gap.

Make Sure Your Plan Passes These Three Self-Assessment Criteria

Growth and customer value go hand-in-hand. Sure, the purpose of growth is to create revenue. Revenue comes from customers which is why a good plan is customer-centric.

Let’s make sure your plan reflects the fundamentals. Start by checking whether your plan passes three tests.

First test. Determine whether your Marketing plan will enable you to both seize a growth opportunity and prove whether you achieved it. For example, take another hard look at your objectives. Are they framed as quantifiable growth targets linked to specific customers or markets? To illustrate the concept, an objective might be framed as, “Create #n conversations for the new ABC solution within X# existing Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers in a specific segment converting to new business by MM/YY resulting in Y% growth and $Z.”

Verify that the Marketing objectives strongly correlate with the organizational growth strategy and are in step with the desired future state. This may be new market penetration, new customer acquisition in an existing market, and/or an expanded footprint within existing customers. Your objectives would not be a revenue target, nor a general goal. It would be specific customers or markets with specific measurable targets. If your objectives don’t already match this level of detail, make the time to revise them.

Second test. Does your plan identify measures and metrics that reflect Marketing’s impact, value and/or contribution to achieving growth goals versus purely activity and/or an output measures. Now is the time to select the right measures. Ideally, they will relate back to customers. For example, increasing the Share-of-Wallet or footprint within existing customers.

Third test. Are the strategies and programs to support your objectives designed for the growth objective? Tactics such as email, events, and social media can still be used, just in different ways and with updated content. But more importantly, seizing growth opportunities requires new strategies and programs to make progress and serve customer needs.

If you started with tactics, such as content marketing, you may end up with misalignment between the tactics, activities and programs and needed to support new strategies.

How to Support Growth Plan Implementation Success with Agile Methodologies

When your plan passes these three tests, it’s ready for the tactics and activities, along with the key milestones and necessary investments, to be developed and added.

Support Growth Plan Implementation Success

One way to keep your plan focused on growth is to group tactics and activities into short sprints that will systematically and methodically bring about the future state. To ensure progress, take a deep dive into your tactics and activities and set very clear customer acquisition, solution adoption, growth rate, and revenue milestones.

For each sprint, set specific milestones, feedback loops, and customer, market, and competitive data points. The future is unpredictable, regularly scheduled analysis will go a long way toward keeping you from going too far-off course. Avoid a one and done approach to gaining market, customer, and competitive intelligence.

Take advantage of the feedback loops. Use these to support iteration along the way to improve your odds of successfully seizing opportunities.