Pillar: a supporting, integral, or upstanding member or part
Every successful business is built on a few key pillars. These pillars define and differentiate the company and provide that special “sauce” it needs to thrive. However, the thing about pillars is that the whole system fails if even one isn’t sound.
Think of it this way: you probably wouldn’t buy a house with a cracked, sagging foundation. A coat of paint or a few more cinder blocks just wouldn’t hide the problem. Your business is the same way. Strong foundations build strong companies.
At Indicative, we specialize in marketing, but we understand that marketing is just one pillar of business success. Even if you have great marketing, it doesn’t count for much without a strategy, a recognizable brand, or a clear picture of who your audience is. If your marketing and creative is well-informed, but you don’t have the internal systems required to tell your stories, nurture and support your staff, and deliver for your clients, you’re in for an expensive, uphill battle.
If you want your business to survive and thrive in these uncharted, unstable times, you’ve got to focus on aligning and optimizing these fundamentals. That’s why our team focuses on six pillars for long-term success: marketing, creative, technology, operations, strategy, and customer success.
What are the six pillars? (and what do successful business pillars look like?)
Your company’s technology choices are some of the most important you will make in the modern world. An optimized technology infrastructure can mean the difference between operating like an efficient, well-oiled machine or struggling to play catch-up all the time. When your business runs efficiently, you provide a consistent, enjoyable customer experience and a marketing strategy that delivers a steady ROI. When you’re playing catch-up, you’re stuck losing market share and spending good money to fix poor choices.
Fortunately, suitable marketing technologies can help. These tools allow you to automate campaigns, plan and distribute content, and keep tabs on how your audience engages with your website in real-time. They can also help you increase your marketing strategy’s sophistication and reduce strain on your organization so you can serve your customers better.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “back-office.” Unfortunately, that’s a significant misnomer. What happens behind the curtains actually has a direct, measurable, and visible impact on your company. Operations refer to the people, processes, equipment, and systems you use to keep your organization running smoothly.
Poorly implemented, non-optimized, or neglected business operations will increase overhead costs and harm your company’s reputation – something you absolutely can’t afford when you’re working with discerning cannabis brands. In today’s competitive environment, you want your business to operate like a well-oiled machine.
The distributed workforce is here to stay. So, whether you have an in-house team or a staff of remote workers (like our team here at Indicative), there are tools that can keep you connected and help you manage projects and resources more efficiently.
We like to recommend tools like Asana and Slack, for example. These platforms improve internal communication between teams and help everyone stay on the same page. Loom, meanwhile, can help you create quick videos to explain new or complex concepts to both employees and clients.
When you invest in a full tech stack, marketing technology, and efficient apps, you can:
- Improve security
- Increase competitiveness
- Save time
- Save money
- Improve customer interaction and retention
Today, the average consumer sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ad impressions daily. And the number of channels and platforms responsible for that exposure continues to grow.
Today, standing out from the competition isn’t easy. To position yourself as a leader, your brand must develop a cutting-edge strategy and position itself consistently across all channels – both online and offline. Your visual brand and your voice must be recognizable across all platforms, as well. Ideally, your customers would be able to pick your content out of a lineup – even if it was unbranded. Consistent branding is the key to developing trust nowadays, and the brands that master it are the ones who will be the most competitive.
4. Customer Success
80% of consumers report that the experience a brand provides is just as important as the quality of its products or services. That means you could be the “best” company out there, but it doesn’t matter if your cannabis customers aren’t satisfied with the way you treat them.
We talk a lot about relatively abstract marketing concepts, like filling pipelines, lead generation, and conversion rate optimization. If you aren’t also consistently meeting and exceeding the expectations of your customers, though, you’re just going to get stuck in a vicious cycle of acquiring new customers that don’t stick around and continuously having to re-invest in the top of your funnel.
Customer acquisition is costly, and it’s hard work. But, if your organization is set up to foster loyalty and brand evangelism, your investment value increases. To do this, it’s critical to understand who your target audience is and what they need. From there, you need to develop a buyer journey that meets those needs and provides value in critical moments along the way.
This strategic pillar is the one that underlines everything else – it represents your ‘why’ and ‘how.’ Every organization has goals and aspirations, but achieving them requires a roadmap, an approach, and some reasonable goals along the way.
You must customize your business strategy because your values, goals, customers, and offerings are different from those of any other brand. It’s not something cookie-cutter that you can download in a convenient PDF. A sound business strategy requires looking under the hood of your business and making sure the engine is designed for maximum efficiency and growth.
Your strategy has multiple elements – from brand strategy and positioning to how you acquire new leads. Taking the time to develop a genuinely well-rounded strategy is essential to long-term success.
Ah, yes – marketing. Marketing is how you bring your strategic plans to life; it’s you build the bridge between who you are and who you want to attract. Your marketing plan identifies a set of channels and tactics to meet your desired audience and engage them. As a customer works their way through your funnel, your marketing needs to be there to meet them each step of the way.
Perhaps most critically, your marketing also must have a defined set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and a measurement strategy. Part of what makes modern marketing so exciting is how dynamic and flexible it is. With defined goals and performance metrics, your ability to adapt to changing conditions and opportunities is what will ultimately determine your success.
The Six Pillar Approach: Strengthen, Streamline, and Grow Your Business
We believe our Six Pillar Approach is an effective way to diagnose your company’s strengths and weaknesses. When we look under the hood of your business at the different components making it run, it’s a powerful tool to generate actionable insight. Once you have the information you need, you’ll have what you need to build a strategic plan for growing your business.
We are so confident in our approach; we guarantee results for our clients. Let’s build a better business together.