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Business growth strategies to outperform competitors
How CMOs can support growth readiness
New research from Deloitte uncovers insights from top CMOs on the activities and capabilities of companies that excel at growth.
The power of organic business growth strategies
A company’s organic growth rate in a business can send powerful signals to customers, employees, and investors about the health of the enterprise, its ability to innovate, and potential future performance. But mounting evidence suggests that corporate leaders—including CMOs in their roles shaping and executing the growth agenda and business growth strategies—are leaving value on the table when it comes to organic growth. They have unexamined and undiagnosed blind spots, biases, and weaknesses around the activities and capabilities required to achieve their full organic growth potential. Assessing growth readiness can help. Marketing leaders should approach growth readiness like athletes preparing for triathlons—sizing up the challenge, shoring up weaknesses, training for better performance, and setting the best plan for race success.
New research from Deloitte uncovers insights from a survey of 1,200 executives and interviews with some of the top CMOs in industry on the business growth strategies, activities, and capabilities of companies that excel at organic growth. The research revealed that for companies to be successful at organic growth, they should see the full set of growth opportunities; select the optimal subset of growth opportunities to pursue; support the selected opportunities by moving talent and investment toward them at speed and scale; and seize the growth opportunities through rigorous strategy choices and execution. Based on these insights, a growth readiness framework was developed, articulating 10 elements of organic growth. By studying and isolating the actions of growth overperformers (defined as top performers relative to industry average growth rate), the analysis reveals the key practices many successful companies are using to outperform competitors on growth in each of the 10 elements.
The Growth Readiness Framework
For the CMO, the growth readiness framework can help them look comprehensively at the factors they may need to assess and influence to drive growth. The insights from growth overperformers can help them decide where they stand on growth readiness and how to improve company growth strategy and the activities and capabilities most important to growth. And by combining the growth readiness framework with financial growth targets and the identification of specific growth opportunities, they can formulate a much more comprehensive and robust growth agenda and business growth strategies for their company.
Many growth-driving leaders surveyed—including CMOs, chief strategy officers, and other C-suite leaders—say they personally create and convene forums to help ensure alignment around the growth agenda and company growth strategy. There’s no substitute for these connections for the growth of a company, they say; these leaders sustain alignment by spending more time discussing company growth strategy in person with their C-suite colleagues than they did even a few years ago. Organic growth is a team sport.
Growth readiness in action
The research helps set out a clear path for CMOs to help set the plan for growth readiness optimization in their organizations. Marketers can put the framework into action in the following ways:
- Exploring the balance of the company’s scanning for growth opportunities across time horizons, among core and adjacent markets, and current and emerging business models.
- Diagnosing the flexibility or inflexibility of budget and resource allocation processes in supporting selected growth opportunities. A possible sign of inflexibility is when budgets rarely change year on year and mostly follow a long-term trend—regardless of available growth opportunities and their relative priorities.
- Identifying risks that could knock the organization out of contention for rapid growth, such as broken organizational alignment or mismatched incentives.
- Collaborating with C-suite peers to decide which actions best suit the company’s situation and strategy. The goal is to align activities and capabilities with the nature and location of the company’s future growth opportunities. For some companies, facing dynamic and dispersed growth opportunities, seeing and selecting growth opportunities is most important; for others, with more close-in growth prospects, the emphasis needs to be on strategies for seizing the opportunities in front of them.
- Influencing and impacting several areas outside marketing’s purview—driving the identification and selection of opportunities across business units and functions, allocating the right resources to opportunities, and building underlying capabilities in areas such as talent, process and technology.
- Pushing the organization to make more decisive choices about segments to pursue, value propositions and customer experiences to be delivered, and execution priorities. The research showed these skills are sometimes underestimated in terms of their importance to the growth of a company.
Ultimately, CMOs should be prepared to build an agenda that helps their organizations grow. Organizations should not only know how much growth they intend to deliver, but also where they plan to grow, and how to boost their capacity to grow. Leading the assessment of growth readiness can help the growth-driving CMO be a catalyst for enterprise-wide action guided by a clear growth agenda.