Marketing problems ... Marketing has changed there is no question...
... and if you are one of those businesses that believe that your customers will keep on coming because of who you are, your history or what you sell or have been selling for years well you could be in trouble or are about to hit trouble at some point.
Let me share this typical story of a business with you.
It’s real and actually happened.
Peter had a shop on the high street that was a 4th generation business. He was the landlord of my second in biggest hairdressing salon when I had high-street shops; we were based next door to his shop.
Peter would proudly tell me how his 4th generation business had been there forever and would probably be there for many years to come. His life, his brother’s life, his families lives all revolved around ‘the’ shop. The shop was there for his children and their future children. He believed that would never change.
The shop was what we in the UK call a hardware shop. This is a shop where you can buy almost anything you might need for a house. Nails, screws, wood, carpet cleaner and just about everything you could list could be bought in this shop.
Then one day there was an announcement in the local newspaper of a new hardware shop that had been opening all over the country. This was a shop named B&Q. these guys had taken hardware to a brand new level. They had gone from corner shop in size to almost stadium in size. Where Peter’s shop could hold say just 5 buckets in stock B&Q could hold 500 buckets in every color in stock. Peter would charge £5 for his where B&Q would charge just one pound for theirs. Clearly this was about to become a huge problem for Peter and not a problem for B&Q.
B&Q had truly taken hardware to a new level. This new up and coming empire was built on a risk but a risk that paid off.
I can remember to this day asking peter if he was worried about B&Q as his shop looked very quiet. He always replied no he wasn’t at all because not only does he offer great service but they are a 4th generation shop that has been there forever and will be there forever.
They spent the minimum on advertising and marketing and would stop marketing and advertising during slow periods.
Within around 18 months Peters 4th generation shop had closed.
Peter like many businesses loved being in the safe zone yet the problem in business is the safe zone is actually the danger zone and the danger zone is the safe zone.
Being 4th generation makes no difference in today’s world – no one really cares.
In Peters day (and even today) marketing worked like this.
- You created the product or service.
- You then announced to the world your product or service through your advertising and marketing.
- You’d convince the public to buy or fail in the process. But the bottom-line was that you the business controlled the marketplace with your messages.
Those days of marketing any business have gone – well and truly gone!
Todays marketing world has to be smarter, sharper, brighter and more diverse than every before.
Today your buyer now has taken the control and has the control in their hand.
Have you heard of lean-back marketing? I doubt you have and if you haven’t you are heading for a possible catastrophic failure at some point because think about this.
When your buyer (or even yourself play at being a buyer) sits down in a coffee shop, at home, in your office, in your car, on the tube or anywhere you get a moment and you are thinking about possibly buying say a new laptop what is yours or their process?
Today it is this.
- Open a smart phone or tablet or iPad.
- Search for the laptop and model.
- Search for reviews and star ratings.
- Then look for a good price from anyone that is selling one.
- Check delivery speed.
- Check the sellers ratings.
- If it is all good they or you will buy.
In other words … just because you are a 4th generation business in today’s fast-paced and consumer driven society the web has taken power from your marketing and handed the power to the buyer.
And because almost nothing breaks these days, everything is so well made gaining customer loyalty is almost impossible.
I know for a fact I have made many purchases online once and once only from a seller, have you?
And if we have you know this for sure your customers no longer have the brand loyal factor built into them today like they used to have.
So it’s all now happening online (but not everything).
And if you are not in control of your web presence you are not in control of your business that is a simple fact of 2015.
Yet here lies the foolishness of businesses that I see time and time again and it is this. And before I tell you I want you to be honest and ask yourself is this me?
Despite the pace of the world most business owners are in another age. I’d say they are running most of the time decades behind in their thinking when it comes to marketing.
The reason is much more simple that you may think and it is this.
Most business still fall for this.
Build and they will come.
Build well and be the best and still – they will come.
That really means building a good business on the back of a good service, good product or a good idea.
Once that is done with buying new computers, big rentals, company cars, ne expert staff, large offices in the city and so on and so on many businesses believe that is enough. Build and they arrive.
Then the even bigger mistake I have seen many times is this.
They then hire marketing people that have trained in marketing in university. They have a great CV with a list of places they have worked at and a great diploma any mother would be proud of but what they don’t have is the skills to run as fast as a high speed micro-fiber-world that knows no end of change.
And it goes like this.
The wrong way to do things ...
- Lets put some adverts together and just hope they work.
- Lets put a website up and hope it works.
- Lets do some social media campaigns and hope they work.
- Lets rent a list and hope and pray we get some sales.
- Lets just hope and pray this something works after all we are good enough and have a great office.
But the problem is everything has changed and the world of marketing has not only grown up, it has moved into another dimension.
And if you as a business owner or sharp entrepreneur don’t get to grips with that new world you will without fail struggle. Maybe not, maybe not tomorrow but you will struggle at some point.
Or maybe you are reading this and knowing you are struggling right now. And maybe now you are realizing that you need to make some changes fast or you could sink.
Let me share this story with you.
Four years ago I did some consulting with a guy that had raised a few million for a business that frankly was a great idea and they had a top-end product.
They had offices, they had staff, they cars, they had a CEO and two partners and by the time they had everything together they felt marketing and strategizing wasn’t a great idea for them.
Because they believed everything they had was so incredible that everyone would want to buy it.
After 18 months they had fallen with a huge smash into the ground in massive debt with a furious investor trailing.
This isn’t unusual.
So the question you really should ask yourself is this.
Are you doing what you’ve always done because you think that is just the best way to do it?
Do you have experts running your marketing that have a long string of failed attempts at marketing so far but still haven’t produced a winner for you yet?
Being an old 4th generation business isn’t enough in todays lean back, smart phone world.
Hiring an average marketing person isn’t enough to make an impact in a world full of impact.
Part two of this article will help you with solutions so simple that you probably wont do them.
But if you do it will be the difference of winning over losing.
In part 2. Of this article I will spell out for you some very simple ways you can kick-start your marketing.
It’s part of what I do with my own clients and plenty of what you can do yourself very easily. All it takes is a shift in your mindset.
If you need a brain a mind a thinker that can smash through the marketing noise and deliver results for you - hit me up.
In your service
The one and only
Alan Forrest Smith