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40. Uncap Your Growth & Increase Your Product Sales

This week’s guest is the real deal — not only in her knowledge and ability to support product entrepreneurs but also in her support as a trusted biz friend. Her name is Maureen Mwangi and she is the brand growth strategist behind some of America’s most beloved brands like L’Oreal, Chobani, Dove and Lay’s.

In her consulting company, Startward Consulting, Maureen teaches entrepreneurs the brand growth strategies that big brands use to find their secret sauce, build a brand obsession and maximize sales for their product-based businesses. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • What brand strategy REALLY is… beyond just your colors and logo
  • The RIGHT WAY to expand your product line
  • The #1 thing you need to understand in order to create content that converts

Download the Sales Maximizer Spreadsheet

https://www.startward-consulting.com/maximize-your-product-sales

Connect With Maureen

Consulting Company: https://www.startwardconsulting.com/

Free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/productentrepreneurswhoscale

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Read the Full Episode Transcript

This week’s guest is the real deal — not only in her knowledge and ability to support product entrepreneurs but also in her support as a trusted biz friend. Her name is Maureen Mwangi and she is the brand growth strategist behind some of America’s most beloved brands like L’Oreal, Chobani, Dove and Lay’s.

In her consulting company, Startward Consulting, Maureen teaches entrepreneurs the brand growth strategies that big brands use to find their secret sauce, build a brand obsession and maximize sales for their product-based businesses. 

What is a brand strategy and what is a brand growth strategist? 

When people hear branding they automatically think of visual branding like logos and colors. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Seeing branding as only colours and logos is like seeing a smile as only the two front teeth — there’s so much more happening in the background.

Brand strategy is the process of building your brand with scientific precision. It is identifying what your customers want to buy, what messages speak to them and how to convey those messages through the four P’s: product, price, position, and placement. 

It’s also knowing how to use marketing, sales and distribution channels to pull the levers and make your business boom. 

Branding is not just creating a product, throwing up a website and seeing what sticks to the wall. It is literally a step by step plan to building a business. 

When did you decide to become a brand growth strategist? 

After I graduated with a master’s in marketing analytics, I fell in love with data and analytics. I fell in love with numbers. I fell in love with strategy. I realised that massive companies create brands from data.

Working for companies like L’Oreal and Chobani and creating the Chobani Greek Yogurt — I actually took that product from concept to cash register — helped me realize that I have a bigger purpose. 

To me, branding is all about communication. You’re speaking up for what your brand stands for. But also speaking up for what you stand for. 

I wanted to bring this knowledge and insight into the small and medium sized entrepreneurship space. 

When product entrepreneurs start their business they don’t typically come from retail or corporate backgrounds. They create their business because they’re passionate about their product. They want to solve a problem, which is usually their own problem. Or they start a clothing boutique because they love clothes. But the business piece is really missing. 

Growing your sales to $10,000 a month on Instagram is not a sustainable growth strategy.   There’s so much knowledge coming from the corporate space that’s not being given to the entrepreneur.

What does uncapping your growth mean? 

Uncapping your growth is the process of moving from a sales plateau to sales acceleration. 

When entrepreneurs hit the multi-six figure stage, they feel like they’ve done everything. They have their marketing dialed in. They’ve made sales up until a certain point. They’ve created all the amazing products for their customers. But they don’t know what else to do to break into a seven figure brand. 

Reducing the diversification of products to make more money 

A lot of entrepreneurs want to add more products because they think adding another product line will make more money. What they forget is that it eats up the profits of your existing line. 

They also feel like they need to increase the price or decrease the price of their existing products. But price increases only contribute to 1% of your growth. 

Your brand is a leaky bucket

Most small and medium sized entrepreneurs focus on acquiring new customers but they don’t think about balancing the “leaky bucket” by retaining customers. 

How do you know when you should or shouldn’t be expanding your line?

You have to go back to your data. You’re a multi-six figure entrepreneur — you have historical data, you have year-to-date data and you have last year’s data. There’s so much power in knowing and understanding what the numbers are saying. The data never lies. 

Plug your data into Maureen’s Sales Maximiser spreadsheet and you’ll see your strategy for growth. Is it customer acquisition? Is it retention? Or is it getting your old customers to come back to your brand. These three different strategies have a different way of growth. 

You can get Maureen’s Sales Maximiser Spreadsheet here. 

Customer acquisition

If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur and you’re focusing on customer acquisition, you shouldn’t create a product that’s exactly the same as your existing product line, you should create a product that will bring in new customers. 

Customer retention 

If you’re focusing on retention, there are probably some leaks in your business and you haven’t maximized the current customer base that you have. That could be a result of all the products that you’re selling. People don’t know what to buy because there’s too many choices. 

How do you uncap your growth? 

Figure out what’s missing. Figure out what’s broken. It’s probably just one thing that needs to be tweaked, not the entire strategy. 

Oftentimes, it goes back to understanding who your customer is. It sounds so simplistic but a lot of people don’t do it or even think about it.

We create brands based on our own operating reality, and not our customers operating reality. When we do things based on what we want to do, we market based on what we want to say. 

Ask yourself whether you’re the voice of your customer? A lot of times you are, depending on how you created that product. But sometimes you’re not and it’s important that you’re able to recognize that. 

What’s something that you tried that failed? 

Positioning an affordable brand as a luxury brand. The core of the issue was a brand growth strategy problem. The CEO lacked the skills to interpret the data coming from his existing customers. 

Lacking that skill caused him to react to market demands instead of anticipate them. He couldn’t get clear on his messaging and he couldn’t decode the mixed messages. His business wasn’t structured in a way that allowed him to pre-plan for growth and as a result he couldn’t be profitable.

He needed to create demand for his product by leveraging his data. The data told him that his customers were looking for a functional bag and they could care less about luxury products. 

A lot of people get into this because they have an idea in their mind about what their product is going to be and what their business is going to be. 

Don’t get hung up on the idea that you originally had about what your business will look like because there’s every chance that it will look very different. 

Build content around the psychology of your customer 

We know every business is different so there’s no real blanket answer. But I’ve seen a lot of success in learning how customers shop and why they pick one product over another.

The majority of my clients success comes from my organic content strategy. Not to toot my own horn, but my clients generated over $100,000 in a content calendar that I created specifically for product-based businesses. 

This calendar centers around understanding the psychology of your customer. It’s a bespoke process that looks at the entire 360 degrees of what drives the emotional bond of your product to your consumer. We also look at your brand’s main idea and the functional benefits of your product. 

If you build content around this framework, that’s where the magnetism comes in. It boils down to understanding the psychology of your shopper. Marketing dramas are just your brand tricking you into thinking the real problem is the Instagram algorithm, or your site’s SEO, or your inability to write a proper tagline. But that’s not why your customers are buying from your competitors over you. It’s because of your brand. 

Marketing is how people find you, branding is why people buy you

Most entrepreneurs go into total paralysis the second anyone brings up branding because they think it’s expensive. But really, it’s not expensive. 

People fail to understand that the fundamentals of building a brand are the same, but brands are unique. So your marketing strategy should be unique. 

You need to anchor yourself on the data that you’ve collected over the years to get you to where you are right now. 

What if data doesn’t come naturally? 

If you’re a creative, looking at data and numbers doesn’t typically come naturally. If this is the case,  find some help because you need to know this to scale to where you want to go. 

Invest in that support because it is a game changer. They’re going to do it faster and it’s ultimately going to be cheaper, even though you don’t want to spend the money on it. 

Gain brand loyalty by changing your customers brain

There’s really no such thing as “forever brand loyalty” anymore. Big brands know that. It comes down to the abundance of choice for consumers. 

Gaining brand loyalty is hard work — never mind keeping it. That’s why I spend a lot of my time teaching clients to focus on something entirely different. Build memory structures in the minds of your clients —  known as changing your customers’ brain — so they think of you when they’re ready to buy.

So many entrepreneurs think they’re annoying customers by repeating the same thing over and over again. They want to keep it fresh and change it up all the time. But remember, repeating yourself creates that memory structure that ultimately drives sales. 

I know you are sick and tired of saying it, you’re sick and tired of hearing it. But that’s you! Your customer has not heard it enough and you have new people coming into your orbit all the time. 

That goes for everything: messaging on your website, on social media, in emails and in any advertising you’re doing. Repeat it all. 

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Hey, I’m Jessica!

eCommerce + email Marketing Strategist

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. Learning from the top experts in the digital marketing & eCommerce industry she loves working with female entrepreneurs and teaching the secrets of 7-figure eCommerce businesses.

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