You want to know one of my major pet peeves? It’s people who put together business “networking” events that are nothing more than unorganized social events or parties in disguise.
If you’re like me and you’re serious about your business, going to a party disguised as a “business networking” or “networking mixer” event is not only disappointing, but frustrating. You walk in ready to meet other like minded people, ready to exchange business cards, ready to tell others about your business, ready to find a business to partner with, but all you find is an unorganized mess. People grouped together, in intimate groups, who look at you as if you’re intruding. Please don’t pull out a business card because people are talking about everything, but business.
It is these types of events; I make a point to avoid. I love a good “party” just like everyone else but if you tell me it is a “business networking” event then that is exactly what I expect. I can’t blame the attendees, because like me, they came expecting something else, but I can blame the organizers because if they had put in a little more effort into organizing ice breakers, roundtables and forums these events could really be marketing gold for small businesses.
There is a “so-called” business networking forum here in my city. I’ve attended several of their networking events, but they have either been a pick-up scene for the single set or an unorganized exercise in futility. You walk in and people have gathered in small groups, exchanging small talk. You walk up and they look at you as if you’re disturbing their conversation. It is not conducive for marketing a business, therefore I have no time for it and neither should you.
If you going to have or attend a business networking event. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
When business owners take the time out of their busy day to attend a “networking” event, then give them something they can actually benefit from. Any business networking event that doesn’t take into consideration the points I have previously mentioned is NOT a business networking event. It may be an event. It may involve networking. But if it doesn’t allow you a chance to share your business with others, it is NOT a “business networking” event and therefore you are wasting your time.
Many people go into business without thinking about the competition they will face with their new business venture. It all starts with high hopes and dreams, but within months it turns into their worst nightmare. They’ve gotten caught up. They’re harboring fears, anxieties and regrets. They’re running out of ideas, money and the time. They need to get their business where they want it to be.
So to paraphrase Hip-Hop great Jay Z, as is the title of this post - You’ve got 99 problems, but the competition ain’t one.
The reason I say the competition isn’t one of the problems is because it really boils down to what you offer and how you offer it. It’s just that simple. You’ll get the customers you needs if you offer them what they want. Another thing, price has nothing to do with it. People will pay for what they want. Customers want to feel as if they received a value for their dollar regardless of how much or with whom that dollar is spent.
Let’s look at fast-food burger joints. You know them well, McDonalds, Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, etc…..There are thousands of them, in every city, on every corner, many competitors are right next door or across the street from each other, but all of them thrive because they offer a product unique to their brand. I can’t say they offer good customer service because most don’t, but all offer value for your dollar. They have speed of service, convenience and price on their side. It may be just a burger, but each burger has a different look and taste which gives customers variety and choice which is a “value” to the customer. Actually the abundance of competition is a benefit to customers because it keeps these businesses fighting for your business which is always a win-win for the customer.
Specialty services are different from fast food or other retail businesses. For example, Tanya Zuckerbrot a nutritionist and best-selling author in NYC charges her client $10,000 to help them lose weight, sometimes as little as 20 pounds according to the article I read on Shine from Yahoo. For most of us, that is an outrageous fee when there are so many nutritionist, diet programs and products you can get for so much less, but the service she offers her clients is of “value” to them which is why they pay her the “big bucks” so to speak. She isn’t worried about her competition, she is doing her business to the best of her ability and it is paying off literally and figuratively.
What these two examples have in common? Marketing. Yes, it all comes back to marketing. Fast food and other retailers spend millions each year to keep you interested and coming back for more. Marketing is an essential part of their yearly operating budget. They spend the money on marketing because it works. Advertising coupons, specials and promotional offers/events is the “bread and butter” of marketing for these types of businesses.
As for Tanya Zuckerbrot, she has built a brand in a niche market and it works for her. Between her books, personal appearances, word of mouth from satisfied clients and her own look of health and prosperity she has built a successful business for herself. By the way, she is her brand, so the way she looks is very important it is also a form of marketing.
Just remember, competition is only a problem if you make it one. Offer quality, value, good customer service and reach out to your customers with unique and engaging marketing campaigns and your business will not only grow, but thrive.
Too often, people want to drive in the fast lane when they are riding on a bicycle. You have to remember that growing a business is a process and part of that process is marketing. If you’re like most of us, you’ve started your business with a limited budget and you’re trying to cut every corner to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the first thing most small businesses cut is marketing and marketing should be the last thing you cut.
When a business finally breaks down and invests in marketing it is at this point when they expect to go from zero to sixty in mere seconds, but that’s not how things work. Marketing is a process and one must not overlook the process!
When I say don’t overlook the process, I simply mean you must put time, money and effort to each step of the marketing process, if you want your business to grow…..period! Don’t just focus on the end result and expect it to be an overwhelming success overnight. You’re going to have failures and you may need to tweak your strategy, but in the end you will see success. The keys to your success with marketing are perseverance, patience and creativity.
When you start marketing, know that it will take time but you must “stay the course”. If one marketing strategy is working, then stick with it and expand on it, what’s the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you are seeing results from your first direct mail marketing campaign, then do another and another. Just keep your name on the lips of your target audience and you are bound to see measurable growth. You can’t just do one thing, one time and expect that to be enough to grow your business.
Everything takes time to grow and develop….plants, animals, people, everything. Your business is no different. I know it is hard to be patient when your bills are due and your funds are running low, but what is your alternative? You have to understand that getting your message out to the public takes time. Although technology has made it “easy” to reach millions with the touch of a button, yet even with these advances in technology, people are still people and we learn by repetition. It will take time for them to see and hear your pitch over and over, before they are compelled to act. So don’t stress yourself out when you don’t get an immediate response. Just keep putting out your messages and in time people are bound to get it and come knocking at your proverbial door.
Creativity is where marketing takes center stage. Marketing is your way to showcase your business in a multitude of ways. The effort and creativity you put into marketing will yield threefold result. At times, marketing can be “hit or miss” because what works for one business may or may not work as well for another, but it is the goal of marketing to figure out what works best for your business and do it. You may be on your third or fourth marketing campaign before you start to see any results. It is the mission of marketing to bring the customers to your door, but it is the way you do business that will keep them coming back for more and more.
To get something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. -Thomas Jefferson
I happen to be listening to the radio and I heard a version of this quote in a song. The song goes on to tell the listener to get up and go get your blessing. It made me think. You can’t just wait for a blessing to come your way. You’ve got to be an active and willing participant in achieving your goals or as the song put it, “getting your blessing”. This is what marketing is about – making things happen. When it comes to marketing, you cannot be passive nor can you afford to sit back and wait. You must take an aggressive stance if you want to achieve success.
Business owners want more customers, new and loyal ones. In order to achieve that, they may have to do something they have never done. For some businesses, it may be deciding to do a direct mail marketing campaign, others it may be hiring a production company to produce their first television commercial. Whatever that “something” is, every business owner has come across this dilemma – what can I do to attract more customers to my business? I’ve tried word of mouth, I’ve put out flyers, I’ve had new business cards designed, I’ve even dabbled in social media but I’m not getting the results I want. My suggestion to you is don’t give up and don’t give in. When you’ve reach this point in your marketing efforts, it is time “shake things up” so to speak. Try something new. The key to marketing is time, money and effort and you’ve got to be willing to give all three. Any one component without the others will not work.
So if you’ve never had a successful business, it is time to do something you’ve never done. If you’ve never reached your monthly budget, it is time to do something you’ve never done. If you’ve never had the customers you know your business needs and deserves, it is time to do something you’ve never done. If you don’t know what to do, get on the internet and find creative marketing ideas. If that doesn’t work or you just feel overwhelmed, reach out to a marketing agency or consultant. Marketing professionals know what to do to help you get your business where it should be.
She is mad and she is not going to take it anymore! The Mad Lady Marketing Blog is just her way to drive home the importance of marketing in business. With over 15 years of experience in marketing, graphic design and communications, this marketing expert is mad (crazy) about marketing and mad (angry) at small businesses that don't understand or utilize marketing to promote their business.
Mad Lady Marketing is MAD!!
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