Ask any product or portfolio marketer if they think that their role is to help their organization grow, and they’ll certainly answer “yes.” But the reality is that one more round of messaging or one more white paper or video contributes only marginally to that goal. If portfolio marketers are focused solely on small-picture tasks and incremental improvements, they will miss out on breakthrough ideas that could drive real growth for the organization.
Portfolio marketing leaders often tell us about challenges they have in identifying new growth opportunities and persuading others of their merits. Below are four common hurdles we hear in uncovering potential opportunities and tips for overcoming them.
- “We don’t know where to start.” The best way to think about growth opportunities is to consider unmet needs. Typically, people think that unmet needs can only be found at the beginning of the adoption curve — when some new innovation is created and there’s a lot of white space for first movers to gobble up. Customer needs, however, are always changing, and unmet needs occur throughout the adoption cycle — from early adopters to majority adopters and even laggards. Look for unmet needs all along the adoption curve and jump into a high-growth market, take away competitive share, or attract laggards who may have slightly different needs.
- “We don’t have the right data to do market sizing.” Portfolio marketers bemoan the lack of data for market sizing and growth. Depending on their segmentation and targeting approach, organizations might need a unique set of data to be able to make decisions. Our approach: Use the data you can get, and make educated assumptions to fit the data to your particular segments. Be consistent and document your assumptions. Don’t think of market sizing as a precise science — it’s an estimation exercise, and the most important thing is to be able to compare the sizes and growth rates against each other, not to have the exact number.
- “The executives call the shots.” Executives often set growth directives such as achieving $1 billion in revenue over the next three years or gaining top market share in certain segments, but they don’t have much time to determine how to achieve these lofty goals. You — as portfolio marketers with knowledge about the products and understanding of the markets and buyers — are best positioned to understand how customer needs are changing, to analyze the attractiveness of different market categories and segments, and to assess potential opportunities.
- “We can’t get other functions to agree.” Half the battle is to convince other stakeholders of the merits of a new opportunity. Many portfolio marketers we talk to have great ideas on how to grow the business — either in current segments or adjacent ones — but they don’t know how to take the ball and run with it. Executives need their teams to build consensus across the business — individuals who do that are recognized as leaders. By assembling a business case based on data (with some well-documented guesstimates thrown in) that provides an assessment of the market and competitors, and that showcases how the organization can win, portfolio marketers can get people excited and willing to join in an exciting new growth initiative.
Leveraging your knowledge of buyer needs and your company’s strengths and using common sense to segment the market and drive alignment in your organization can help you capitalize on new opportunities. Want to continue the conversation? Reach out to us.