Let’s start with truth. It’s a wonderful, unavoidable, exhilarating, depressing, freeing, and confining thing … and most important as a marketer, it will always find a way to surface. So begin by acknowledging exactly what your products and services are; no more, no less. If your products and services range from best-in-class to good-enough, then you have something with which to work. But products are not enough by themselves … “build it and they will come” works mostly in the movies, and not in the market. Playing fast and loose with the truth is a short-term strategy usually ending in disaster. Planting your feet firmly in the truth, and then helping others understand the importance of where you are, is the key to robust, long-term growth.
Back when I was doing corporate marketing in a beer company, we had a CFO who wanted to focus only on the facts, and “let others interpret them the way they want.” To make a long story short, after a stagnating stock price for a couple of years, the CEO finally let us write the quarterly earnings release. We added understanding to the CFO’s facts (the truth), and the stock price again substantially outpaced the market. Why? Because the market again came to understand why we were a great company with good products. As a side note, when I started at Anheuser-Busch in 1981 the share price was $38.00. Over the years the stock split 24 to 1 and was sold to In Bev in 2008 for $70.00 per share. That is a 4400% increase … and the company is 160 years old.
The moral of this blog is simple: understand the truth about what you have to offer, and find a way to communicate understanding of the truth, and how this truth adds value to your customers/stakeholders. That is how to maximize your company’s potential.