Each year we host our Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting in support of our growing list of active partner companies and business investors. Held at our headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, the meetings and workshops allow opportunities for our leadership teams to share best practices, what’s worked over the past 12 months, and possibly even more importantly, what hasn’t worked, allowing each team to collaborate and truly learn from one another. Another important aspect of the time together is learning how we, at Evolution, can better add value to our small business partners in the year ahead.
This year we were lucky enough to have our Leadership Summit workshop led by Chief Outsider Managing Partner, David Vroom. The focus of Mr. Vroom’s session was on building a Sustainable Growth Engine, utilizing Chief Outsider’s Growth Gears approach. While our partner companies are all in different phases of their growth, across various industries, the one thing they have in common is that they are all small, growing companies, with big visions (or BHAGs)! And as Mr. Vroom articulated very clearly, running your company, and growing your company are two very different things! A very small percentage of companies do both really well.
Mr. Vroom shared that the first steps in creating a sustained growth marketing strategy is to gain insight and feedback. He highlighted the importance of proactively and intentionally gathering customer knowledge and feedback, using the example of a Voice of the Customer survey, to truly understand what you, as a company, do really well. Surprisingly, the results may not be what you as the owner, or leader, may believe is your differentiator.
The second item is gaining competitive insights. Know your competitors, even if you just start with your top two — understand where they are better and where you come out on top. Again, this will help with your ability to articulate your company’s differentiators and create an effective marketing strategy.
And while there were a plethora of take-aways and marketing insights for our partner company leadership teams, and Evolution, in establishing a sustainable growth oriented marketing strategy, one final thought I would like to leave you with is a statement that Mr. Vroom shared vehemently. It resonated with all in attendance. Marketing is too important to leave to only marketers.