Summit Group Partners Blog

Know Thy Self

Splashy print ads. Blogs. Riveting press releases. A “kick-ass” Facebook page. These assets are all elements of a marketing strategy.


Who wouldn’t want a “winning” social media presence, or even one-eighth of Charlie Sheen’s twitter followers? But do they fit within your overall business strategy and goals for your company? Do these tactics fit the image you want to portray to the marketplace, investors and employees? What is the cost or benefit to your company reputation?


Many companies get wrapped up in the splash and hype of the latest and greatest marketing tactics that they shortchange, or skip altogether, important steps in developing and implementing a marketing strategy, and the end up with a conglomeration of disparate marketing tactics that don’t support their brand.

Know Thy Self.

Benjamin Franklin wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanac that “there are three things that are extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” While this statement was written over 200 years ago, the premise still holds true. Diamonds and steel still consist of the same properties they did 200 years ago. Finding yourself, knowing your company and products, and who might use those products, is perhaps even more difficult than 200 years ago. How do you know what to market, when you don’t know what you’re selling; or if what you’re offering is even something customers like, want, or need?

Companies often fall into the trap of becoming enamored with their technology, gadget or whiz-bang whoozit then they lose objectivity when approaching the marketplace. I worked with an extremely well-funded startup with some extremely smart entrepreneurs. We were hired to develop and implement their tactical marketing plan. In the course of discussions, it became clear that they needed to identify whether they were a software company with a services component, or a services company with a software component. A slight difference, perhaps, but you need to understand what your offer is in order to successfully market and sell it.

Know Thy Self.

Below are some questions to answer with your management team:
• What need, issue or problem does our product/service solve?
• Who has these issues?
• Is this group growing or shrinking?
• What are we selling?
• What are we good at?

Are members of your management team on the same page? If not, why not? Is there a fatal flaw hidden in your company positioning that you need to iron out?

It’s exciting to launch a new marketing campaign, slick advertising or social media components. But, ultimately, you need to be clear about what message you are sending to people, and make sure you are sending that message to the right people. Do you know who you are communicating to on TV late night? Who watches at their desk? What compelling messages will you put in your ads in the trade publications? Will that message move people to check out your web site? Will your home page draw them to read your site? Knowing what you offer, what you are good at and what your customers’ need are is critical to the success of your marketing campaigns. Sending the right message, to the right people, at the right time, is also critical. If people don’t know that they need your product, your marketing channels will be the ones telling prospects they need you.

Do you offer leading edge technology? Are you faster, or cheaper? Do you offer higher quality than the competition? If you do any of these, so what? When a potential customer sees your marketing efforts why should they care that your company offers the latest and greatest in cloud technology? Or you have the fastest byte transfer? Or are the pioneers of XYZ services? Should they care that you do these things, or are they right to care that you can reduce their costs, ease their resource constraints or allow them to service their customers in a faster manner?

Know Thy Self.

Once you take the time to understand your company and what it does well, and what you offer your customers, you can begin to develop your marketing strategy. Getting to know yourself might not be the sexy part of marketing but it is an integral part of your business planning.

About the author

Susan Grattino
Susan is an experienced marketing consultant who helps companies with the development of strategic and tactical marketing plans. Her specialty is market research, marketing planning and tactical implementation of marketing programs. Ms. Grattino was Director of Marketing Services for a marketing consulting company where she managed the development of strategic and tactical marketing plans, developed related revenue projections and budgets, and managed the execution of the related marketing programs. She has experience writing business plans, human resource training manuals and disaster recovery plans as an employee and as an independent consultant. She has worked both domestically and internationally throughout Europe, South America and Asia. She also has experience as a software developer, management consultant, and pre-sales consultant.

Susan holds a dual undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and Accounting, and achieved Certified Public Accountant designation in 1996. Susan also holds a graduate degree in International Management from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) with a concentration in international marketing and finance.



What a post – spot on and to the point. It’s the theory but I need to turn this into practice. I am well on the way as I spent the past 12 month I have been in the process of getting to know myself wrt to my business. I am a one man band and I am told that this was necessary to achieve my objectives of long term sustainability and socially responsible action for the full spectrum of leadership. It has been painful but hugely beneficial; having completed this self-analysis I clearly understand what ‘integral’ in business means.

I am an innovator by nature and I have re-engineered business leadership to move it from industrial to digital to knowledge based economies. I have 8 new innovations that make business integral - ultimately business makes use of the total DNA of the human resources and executive intelligence knows how to maximise its use - But that is not all - life cycle management is where the human potential is hidden - outside the business. There are 12 groups of competency in the life cycle of business and its technologies which operations group does not have. Identifying this additional potential is 'critical' in achieving cost benefits beyond measurability but that can be added to the bottom line.

The key innovations are in the recognising and managing the intangible values of clear and precise communication processes fit for the digital age where data objects rule the ‘micro waves’, relationship and knowledge management leading to exceptional risk management – avoiding nuclear disasters is achievable within the as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) level of risk.

Now that I have written this I need to thank you for this valuable information. I shall succeed. Thank you all.

Thursday, 07 April 2011
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