Boo… Happy Halloween!
You ever have a scary “Ah-Ha” moment? I had one of those last night!
We ordered some take out last night. When it was delivered, I thought I would be a good husband and put it in the oven to keep our dinner warm until we were ready. Being proud of my caring heart and ingenuity… I proudly told Kim I had our dinner staying warm in the oven until we were ready. Kim asked “What did you do with my salad?”… to which I responded “I will be right back”. Luckily it had not been too long, so a quick trip to the kitchen later, the salad was chilling in the freezer to negate the heating effects of the oven! I guess communication is everything!
On this Halloween I want to talk about scary things… like getting outside of your comfort zone.
I had no less than three meetings this week with potential clients who were looking at new options in marketing to increase their sales of products or services. All of them were in completely different industries… but they all had a couple of things in common.
First off, they realize that in a down economy, now is the BEST TIME to reach out to potential new customers. Most businesses are watching their pennies and cutting marketing, but that is exactly the opposite of what you should do. In order to be at the top of the pack when business get back in the spending mode, you need to be visible and relevant NOW. If you wait until everything picks up, you may be too late to the party to get your piece of the cake. I am not saying spend with wild abandon… I am saying just don't do nothing!
Secondly, those businesses know they are too comfortable with what worked in the past. The scary part becomes trying to get away from the forest and see the trees. I can see in some of their eyes that when I talk about the time and costs of doing things like blogs, podcasts, social networking and other marketing tools, that they want to crawl up in their comfortable blanket of what worked in the past and just keep doing that! BIG MISTAKE! Then I see a glimmer of that scary “Ah-Ha” moment!
I can sometimes agree with “If it ain't broke… don't fix it!”, but you also have to realize that any businesses market is an amoeba… it's stretching and changing right before your eyes. You may have the same amount of potential customers, but some may be younger or older than before.
What's really important is to understand the demographic of your markets. Younger audiences (20's & 30's) are more comfortable with electronic communications. Older audiences (50's and 60's) are more comfortable with print communications. People in their 40's are a mix of both. You have to pick and choose the marketing tools that best match those audience and mix and match based on the size of your potential markets.
The worst thing you can do is try to look through your own eyes. We know what we know and we tend to keep doing what worked in the past. The ‘Business Failure Hall of Fame' is filled with companies that refused to adopt to changes in the market (like cool companies – Sharper Image, Circuit City, CompUSA, Tower Records and more)!
The good news (at least for some of the businesses I met with last week), is that they get it! By using market research, customer surveys, and brain storming sessions, to help them distinguish the trees from the forest, and work up a marketing plan based on what their current and future marketing budgets allow!
Nuf Said! Guess I better get that salad out of the freezer… Ooops : )
Nothing is more creative and sometimes more scary than people who think they fixed things only to fail later… Enjoy!