When your goal is to grow your company, you have a lot of options open to you, a lot of strategies that you can try out. But they all fall into one of two buckets, for the most part.
- Take Market Share
- Grow the Market
Take Market Share
Traditionally, most growth strategies end up in this bucket. We have a tendency to look at the total market of potential customers for our products and services as fixed. Everyone in the market is either buying from us or buying from our competitors. And in order to grow, we need to get more of those customers who are currently buying from our competitors to start buying from us.
And so, armed with the “take market share” mentality, we cut our prices, offer discounts and promotions, and advertise more aggressively in existing channels. We conduct competitive analysis to see what other companies are doing that we’re not, and we copy them. We find out what channels they’re not in, and we beat them there.
This is a fine strategy, and one that has worked for marketers throughout the history of competition. But this mentality can only take you so far. You can’t own 100% of a market. And any gains you make must be sustained over time, which is difficult.
Grow the Market
The most successful companies approach growth in a slightly different way. Instead of taking market share away from competitors, they look to grow the overall market for their products and services.
You can do this in a number of ways. But it starts with a new mentality. You must see the market as fluid, not fixed.
You can grow your market through product enhancements and extensions, offering new products or new features that appeal to a new group of people. You can grow your market through pricing plans, catering to new audiences with a slimmed down, lower priced offer. You can grow your market by finding new uses for your existing products and marketing them that way in new channels.
Growing the market is not easy. I don’t mean to infer that it is. But true growth companies are not the ones competing for market share in a finite market. True growth companies are thinking outside the box, finding new customers that other companies are ignoring.