ECS: crisis management and governance issues

International affairs, Public policy, Communications & Project Management issues from an innovative perspective

When we design the strategy within the framework of External Relations and Communications to progressively become a successful institution and/or corporation within the public and/or private sector, there is at least one avenue where we already excel at reaching our target market. Whether it is online, at proactive networking scenario, or through word-of-mouth referrals, we do have a niche – and it is working for us.

Source: sword and the script
Source: sword and the script
But no matter how strongly we are performing within our niche, at a certain point, that niche will inevitably become saturated. We should eventually claim the share of our target market that we are able to reach through this channel, and there simply will not appear any more untapped leads left to capture.

At that point, we may feel like we are stuck at a marketing crossroads! However, we need to continue growing our business by expanding our pool of qualified leads and exploring new channels to strengthen our corporate branding. Here is precisely where we will need to find another ‘innovative niche’ that is relatively similar to ours – an alternate route to meeting our target market where they are at.

Venturing beyond our safe, reliable niches to find news customers in less familiar territory can feel risky. Nevertheless, this should not intimidate us – so long as we have designed actions through and created a solid, data-backed strategy, taking these calculated risks is the only way to sustain our business’ growth.

But how do we find the calculated risks that will move our External Relations and Marketing strategy forward?

- Meet our target market where they are.

The key to identifying untapped ways to reach untapped segments of our target market is to look for niches that look similar to the ones we are successful in. Whether our business is a small CRO (Contract Research Organization) to offer clinical research services targeting top local and/or international clients / partners or a Fortune 500 company targeting high-powered executives, we become successful reaching them when we meet them in the spaces – whether virtual or physical – where they already spend their time. From there, our goal is to show them what we do best by finding thoughtful ways to add value to their experience in a way that we generate a real impact.

- Challenge our assumptions.

If we are a niche service business, we find the vast majority of our clients through referrals, and have virtually never obtained a lead through our website. We might assume digital marketing would never work for us. But what does the data say? Have we actually done the keyword research and determined that nobody is searching for our offering online?

What if users are searching for it, but they are naming it something different? What if they are searching for it, but our site is not showing up in the results because we have not invested in solid SEO? What if they are searching for it, but they are clicking on our competitor’s paid ad because it shows as the first result on Google?

Avoid to make the mistake of writing an idea off just because we have not tried it yet. Sometimes, the assumptions our Strategic Communications Team made about marketing our business will prove correct – but not always.

- Embrace risk as part of our external relations and business strategy.

We have gone thru the first two steps: we have identified a thoughtful way to meet new customers where they are and we have achieved a 'smart' research, and it seems like a great opportunity. But we are still feeling skeptical – what if it doesn’t work? What if something else is more competitive than our product, service, even our current 'vision'?...

This hesitation is natural, but it is not our best ally. Taking calculated risks is key to successful marketing. We can discuss potential outcomes or stare at the data forever, but we are not able to predict whether an idea will work with 100% certainty. Only by implementing actions taking a risk on a marketing idea that might surprise our Communications and External Relations colleagues, we will either be successful and communicate our brand message and unique vision to an untapped segment of our target market, and/or we will learn valuable lessons that will inform our next calculated risk.

Posted by Christopher Oscar de Andrés, on Thursday, April 21st 2022 at 19:00 | Comments (0)