You’ve heard the saying, “keeping up with the Joneses”, which simply means trying to have and do what your neighbors have and do. For the most part, it has a negative connotation, because it implies envy or jealousy. It also implies that you are trying to live above your means in an effort to impress others or make others think you have more than you really do. This is not a practice I recommend for your personal life, but for your business life…..that’s a different story and I’ll explain why.
No, the Mad Lady has not gone off the deep end nor is she any more “mad” that usual. I know some of you may think I’m slightly to the left of sanity, but not in this instance. In a previous post entitled, You’ve Got 99 Problems, But The Competition Ain’t One, I expressed that you should never let competition become your obstacle. But in that same line of thought you must keep up with your competition when it comes to business if you want to stay competitive. In other words, don’t let the competition “out market” you. I’ve also discussed in previous post that we as human beings learn by repetition, so in order for you to reach others with your marketing, you have to stay current and be prolific with your marketing.
If your competition is running a television commercial, then you should think about doing the same. If it is not in your budget to do a television commercial, then I suggest you start saving up for one. Don’t be out done by the competition. Keep up, stay up and if possible lead the pack. You don’t have to match your competition dollar for dollar when it comes to marketing, but if given the choice, who do you think consumers will choose - the business that is running ads on television, radio and in print media or the one that is doing nothing? Who would you choose – the business that is open and inviting with its informative website and engaging social media networks or the one with the non-existent website and no social media at all? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Think like a customer when it come to running your business, but especially when it comes to marketing.
It’s alright to take a tip or two from the competition, because it might help you in the long run. But sitting around waiting on your competition to make the first move and you just follow their lead, is no way to run a successful business.
I implore you to be innovative, be bold and be the “Joneses”. Make your competition keep up with you.
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.
No More Excuses!
When trying to get small business owners to understand the importance of effective and professional marketing, too often, I hear nothing but excuses. The operative words are “effective and professional”.
Most people don’t put any thought into marketing their business. They just turn to the old “tried and tired” marketing efforts…business card (cheap ones), flyers (not even color flyers, but black print on colored paper), word of mouth (telling their “friends” on Facebook). REALLY!?! Is this really what you call marketing? Do you think that is all the hundreds of thousand marketing firms around the country do, business cards, flyers and tell friends? REALLY?!? If you do, then you don’t know marketing. Marketing firms put time and effort into understanding the best way to help your business receive optimal exposure and reach the maximum number of customers. That’s why you should get a professional to help you market your business. Stop turning to cousin Jay or your best girl Heather who just learned how to use Word and can put together a flyer and call it marketing. It is an insult to this industry. Face it, marketing cost money and marketing helps you make money!
Let’s take a look at the top 5 excuses small business owners use to avoid hiring professional marketing services.
Look, when you fail to care about the way you present your business to the public, then you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. Surround yourself with business people who can help you be a better business owner and have a better business. Presenting yourself and your business in a professional light will allow you to reach customers from all walks of life, not just your immediate circle of friends and associates.
Stop the excuses and stop trying to do it yourself. As a business owner, you should focus on running your business and let the marketing professionals do the rest. When you fail to market your business, you’re not hurting anyone but yourself and your business.
The economy is in a slow recovery. Unemployment is up, hiring is down, money is tight and people are still cautious about how they spend their money.
NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS OR SERVICES!!
No, this is not a pitch to get you to use our services, I am totally serious. Now IS the best time to market your business. Customers are getting more cautious with their money, times are hard, doubt and fear are the flavor of the day but you have a product or service to sell and you’ve got to make these customers want what you have.
If you're going to survive this economic downturn or whatever you want to call it, you’ve got to build and maintain a presence in the mind of your customers! That means marketing. You must constantly call attention to your business. You must market your business like there is no tomorrow, because if you don't there may not be a tomorrow. If no one is busting down your door to get what you are selling then you’re not marketing enough.
If you’re not experienced in marketing, hire someone who can help you develop your message and get that message out to potential customers. You must switch from a passive effort to an aggressive approach.
When you start developing your marketing strategy, consider the following:
How can you reach out to the community to get their support?
What are some simple and inexpensive ways to get your name out there?
What is it that you offer which sets you apart from everyone else?
Marketing is what I do for a living, but I don’t expect you to know the ins and outs of marketing. If you want to successfully market your business, seek help from a professional so you will get the most out of your marketing dollars.
And remember, MARKET OR DIE!!!
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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