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Driving Growth

An important function of marketing is to drive sales and revenue growth. Marketing is especially adept at doing so for a new product with many competitive advantages and much potential. Good marketing can encourage trial and promote word of mouth and diffusion. Marketing in more mature markets can be more challenging.

Growth Strategies

Phil and Milton Kotler stress the following eight growth strategies.50 Companies can grow by (1) building market share, (2) developing committed customers and stakeholders, (3) building a powerful brand, (4) innovating new offerings and experiences, (5) expanding internationally, (6) arranging acquisitions, mergers, and alliances, (7) building an outstanding reputation for social responsibility, and (8) partnering with government and nongovernmental organizations.

Growing the Core

Some of the best opportunities come from growing the core—focusing on the most successful existing products and markets. Growing the core can be a less risky alternative than expansion into new product categories. It strengthens a brand’s credentials as a source of authority and credibility and can yield economies of scale. Through improved revenues and lower costs, growing the core can also lead to greater profits.

UK marketing guru David Taylor advocates three main strategies for growing the core, citing these examples:51

  • 1. Make the core of the brand as distinctive as possible. Galaxy chocolate has successfully competed with Cadbury by positioning itself as “your partner in chocolate indulgence” and featuring more refined taste and sleeker packaging,
  • 2. Drive distribution through both existing and new channels. Costa Coffee, the number-one UK coffee shop chain, has found new distribution routes using drive-through outlets, vending machines, and in-school locations.
  • 3. Offer the core product in new formats or versions. WD40 offers a Smart Straw version of its popular multipurpose lubricant with a built-in straw that pops up for use.

A focus on core businesses does not mean foregoing new market opportunities, especially if the core business is not expandable. However, marketers must avoid overestimating the upside of new ventures that stretch the company into uncharted territory. “Marketing Insight: Understanding Double Jeopardy” describes how market leaders can benefit from brand loyalty due to their size.

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