You may be able to sell existing products or services into new markets without significantly modifying the products or services themselves. However, it's likely that you will have to alter your business strategy when you try to penetrate a new market. For instance, if the new market is larger but more competitive than the one you are currently in, you may have to adjust your pricing strategy to give your business leverage to take market share from entrenched rivals.

Pricing isn't the only key part of your strategy you may have to alter. New markets often require new marketing messages, new packaging, new value propositions and new product names. You can't comprehend the adjustments necessary for penetrating a new market unless you understand that market. Knowing a new market usually requires careful study, including conducting market research, consumer opinion polls, competitive surveys and test marketing.

Marketing remains as much art as science, and there is no certain way to tap new markets or increase sales to existing ones. But fast-growing companies are, almost without exception, companies that are effective marketers. To generate long-lasting, consistent growth, developing marketing, advertising and promotional skills has to be a priority.

Excerpted from Grow Your Business