Here’s why I love helping businesses build brands and think through their marketing: I help them grow.

It’s just such a singularly positive thing to do: growing a business.

Accountants don’t grow businesses, if anything they stop declines. Neither do engineers, HR, logistics or operations people. It is the marketer’s primary job to grow the business by selling more, at a better price, to more people.

Interestingly, you’d think that every business is aggressively pursuing growth. Not so. I am surprised at how many I encounter that don’t grow for years and are seemingly unfazed by it. Just this week I heard of a small company who hasn’t grown for 6 years.

There is something to be said for building a business up to a point and then keeping it there. But how long before the rot starts to set in? Do you just naturally sustain the high standards? What drives you when your aim is to stand still?

You’ve got to grow something: your market share, the top-line, the bottom-line. Either this, or die a slow death. There’s no holding pattern for a business.

South Africa is an uncompetitive market. We know this from how the big companies act. The banks, mobile operators, retailers, bread bakers – they all give each other space to breathe. But the surprising thing is just how uncompetitive many small companies are. They’re just ticking over one year after the next….and eventuality fizzle out.


Remember, you either grow or die. No in-between. And the way to grow is to engage in marketing of your business. You need to tell people what you sell, why it’s different and what it costs.

As it stands 2016 will be a tough year with many down-drafts threatening to turn a comfortable cruise into a tailspin. A weak Rand, likely higher interest rates, political uncertainty, drought…
If you thought that you could turn 2016 into just another year of keeping things steady, you’re in for a surprise.

Last week I suggested making 2016 your marketing year. This week I’ll say that 2016 will be your “do or die year”. Odds are that this time next year your business will either be substantially better or worse-off than where it is today.

Marketing is an overwhelmingly positive thing to do. You’re basically saying: “we’re going for growth”. Which is like saying, “we don’t plan to die”.

What do you want to do in 2016? Where will your business be this time next year?

Maybe it’s time you draw up a marketing plan for 2016 that “goes for growth”.

Image source: Flickr