Our mission here at Rival is to understand what makes successful challenger brands. Why do most build buzz and fade away while a select few succeed at disrupting the category they’re in? Most of what people focus on when it comes to marketing (of challengers or otherwise) is the output: the communication to the customer. But one of the biggest differences we see between challengers and incumbents is the input of marketing within the organization.
Successful challengers view and enable the role of marketing differently. They give marketing the remit not just for bringing the product to market, but for connecting the product to the consumer. In these organizations, marketing isn’t just about communication, it’s about building a bridge between the proposition of the product and the needs of the customer. The marketing we see, the external communication, is the byproduct of marketing’s core role and activity: understanding and internalizing the needs of the customer.
The full potential of marketing to drive growth comes from its ability to make a business more customer-centric. (Share this on Twitter)
What does this mean in practice?
- It means making yourself the champion of the customer and his/her needs internally, like BrewDog. When other forces are pulling conversations towards the product or bottom line, you need to push them back towards the ‘jobs’ your customer needs to get done.
- It means creating a platform, literally like Monzo, or figuratively like Pensionbee, where you encourage and facilitate feedback from customers that can help guide not just the marketing roadmap, but the product and overall business roadmap too.
- It means developing the culture and capabilities to turn data into insight to find a truly differentiated understand of the customer the role your brand and product plays in their lives, like GiffGaff.
Growth comes from innovation. Innovation comes from adding new or different value to the market. Marketing is the function that brings that value to market, but it’s also the function that brings the market into the business and helps you understand the value you can deliver . If your marketing is only focused on “go-to-market” you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to unlock value and drive growth. Take a step back and figure out how marketing can do more to be that two-way bridge connecting the customer to the product as well as the product to the customer.