The simplest way to approach business growth is to be where your customers are and adapt your business practices to what they do. Let their decisions and habits guide your strategy. From a marketing standpoint, mimic their behavior.
It seems obvious, but many companies look to their competitors and colleagues for marketing ideas, rather than their customers. They follow the behavior of other brands rather than following the behavior of potential buyers. They show up where their competitors show up and attempt to outshine them.
This creates a lot of extra work and will create a competitive atmosphere that quickly drives up costs. Because these areas are often saturated, customers are overwhelmed with messages and the marketing loses its impact. The best way to avoid this scenario is to ignore your competition as much as possible. Focus solely on where your customers are.
(Keep in mind, companies often don't do a great job of evaluating the effectiveness of their marketing. So, just because they think it's a good idea to market in a certain place, that doesn't necessarily mean they're getting good results.)
Simply put, if your customers spend time on Instagram, spend time there too. If your customers shop on weekends, be open on weekends. If all of your customers play golf on Saturdays, then it might be time to dust off your clubs. If they attend certain events, buy a ticket and go.
If your customers are local, then focus on marketing in your local community. Go to local events, be a part of the local atmosphere, you could even advertise in the local paper. If your customers are local, you need to be active locally. Meet your neighbors and get involved.
Most people imagine marketing and sales to be more complex and competitive than it really is. And, because they envision a highly competitive environment, they unknowingly create that environment. If you organize your business around the preferences and behaviors of your customers, you'll sidestep the stress and cost that many brands encounter.
Instead, use your resources to study your customer. Learn how they spend their time and how they shop, and adapt to those habits. The more you understand your customers, the more you’ll be able to see ways to connect with them that other businesses miss and the easier (and cheaper) marketing becomes.