I saw a great cartoon the other day. Two guys were standing in front of a street vendor. The vendors cart had a sign on it that said, “STUFF YOUR WIFE WON’T LET YOU EAT”. One guy looked at the other and said, “I have no idea what it is, but I’ve GOT to have it…”
And that my dear friends is at the core of what marketing really is. You’ve got to give your prospects and customers what they want, not what you think they want. There are “dead business” graveyards full of businesses who thought that they knew exactly what their prospects wanted to buy, without ever asking them, they just knew, or thought they knew. When no one bought from them then they blamed the economy, the uninformed community, congress, and the weather. If they just would have asked, did a little research, or gone to an industry trade show they would have saved time, energy, money, hair loss and their family’s legacy.
There are three foundational things that you absolutely need to know (among many) before starting a business.
- WHO is your customer? Who is your absolute, crystal clear target consumer for your proposed product or service. Be sure, without a shadow of a doubt, who this is. It’s not that hard, it just takes some effort. Some night while at your computer, sitting in your underwear and enjoying a beer or a glass of wine, conduct a simple GOOGLE search. Go to your target industry and gather all the information you can on consumer demographics and psychographics.
- WHAT do they want? Today, consumers buy what they want, not what they need. So, if you want them to buy from you, you had better know what their buying trends are and why they buy. If you don’t, you’re doomed
- WHY should they buy from you? There are literally tons of choices and options out there. If you can’t provide them with a unique product, service or experience, you will be replaced. You will be very easily and without remorse replaced. The consumer will just move on. It’s just not enough any more to have “years of experience”. They don’t care. It’s not enough to tell them you have great products, they don’t care. You must understand their needs, from THEIR point of view. You must sell them the hope that you are faster, cheaper, hipper, cooler than the alternative. You must do all this with a passion. Consumers want to know that you love what you’re doing, or they’ll find someone who does. Remember that the reason that some retailers have grown so fast is that they have a “no questions asked” return policy. If you don’t like it, bring it back. So, consumers buy what they want, not always what they need.
- HOW do your consumers get their information? If you know who your consumer should be, and you have a pretty good idea what they want then you have to find out where they are. How do they get their information about where to shop? Is it through a mobile app or is it on a favorite social media? Is it in the local newspaper or local television channels or on cable? You can spend your way into bankruptcy marketing to a consumer where they’re not at.
It’s simple really. If you want to survive in business today, you must play by the continually evolving rules of Digital Marketing 101. Things have changed. Things will continue to change. You must have more information than ever before and use it in order to win. The bottom line is that if you continue to do things the way you’ve always done things, you WILL be out of business. So, get smart, learn, adapt, change and position yourself to win at all the business opportunities in this big, old, beautiful world.