If you were asked to define your next move to ignite revenue growth, would you suggest firing 60% of your clients? How about grinding iPhones in a kitchen blender? No? OK, how about deploying basketball-dunking sumo wrestlers?

It might seem crazy, but those are all real-world tactics that have led to massive business growth for their respective organizations. In my book Rethink Your Marketing: 7 Strategies to Unleash Revenue Growth, I point to dozens of examples of counterintuitive, lateral thinking that led to not only accelerated new customer growth but also greater profitability and ROI.

Here I offer three effective ways that you can use lateral thinking to reinvent your marketing and unlock new revenue growth for your business.

1. Rethink your audience

Imprivata, a security software firm, had originally targeted banks, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities as its target audiences. After the financial collapse of 2008, the company pivoted, deciding to focus exclusively on the healthcare market. That meant firing 60% of its clients at the time. The bold move enabled the company to focus like a laser on the needs of healthcare organizations and become dominant in its ability to close new business. The result was a 233% increase in revenue within six years.

Tableau Software makes databases and spreadsheets understandable to non-developers through its data analytics and visualization software. In the early days, when Co-Founder Christian Chabot drove around trying to get IT departments interested in the software, he was met with dead-end after dead-end. In those days, the IT department was the gatekeeper for technology purchases by large organizations.

So, Chabot rethought his audience and attempted something heretical at the time: bypassing the gatekeeper and going direct to the ultimate users, potentially pissing off the very IT departments to whom he had been trying to sell. The gamble, though, paid off. Business users loved the ability to translate complex data into easily understood visualizations. Tableau has grown by approximately 1,900% over the past six years, with more than 54,000 customers in its portfolio.

When thinking about your own audience in terms of growth opportunities, ask yourself:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Which audience segment is most profitable or has the greatest potential, and would it make sense to narrow your focus to only that segment?
  • Are there complementary markets that you should be targeting in expanding your audience?
  • Similarly, are there other departments, roles, or job titles that you should be targeting?
  • Into which regions can you expand geographically?
  • How can you incrementally add new demographics to your target audience?

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image of Tom Shapiro

Tom Shapiro is the CEO of Stratabeat, a branding and marketing agency. He is also the author of Rethink Your Marketing: 7 Strategies to Unleash Revenue Growth.

Twitter: @tomshapiro

LinkedIn: Tom Shapiro