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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  July 12, 2016

What to Do When You Outgrow Your Market

Build a bridge between your past and your future.

It happens to all of us. Customers change, or we outgrow our customers. A recent Strategy + Business article—Has Your Strategy’s Shelf Life Expired?—lays out the problem nicely. I couldn’t have said it better.

The examples in the article are large organizations, but for B2B firms, the author’s main point still stands: growing into new markets requires more strategic changes than initially planned.

I’ll go one step further: Those strategic changes need new brand messages, as well.

I run into this all the time. The biggest hurdle is acknowledging that yes, you’ve outgrown your markets. Once the shock wears off, I give clients these two branding options:

1. Expand your platform to fit new players: Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, ask yourself: what is the bridge between these two markets? What can be replicated and what can’t stay the same? That underlying theme becomes a big part of your platform. The focus is on your impact in similar situations.


Related: New Business Model?


2. Expand your service options: If your target market changes (MTV is a good example in this article), then change what you give them. Show how what you’ve done in the past set you up to provide something new. The focus is on your relationship with the target market. They change, and you change with them.

The common denominator: You have to build a bridge between your past and your future.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.