Today we do things a little differently. I have two rants (not angry rants – just observational-rants) that come directly from recent conversations. They both have to do with business growth and marketing, but even to a bigger picture: our mindset when it comes to our overall plan in life (business or personal).
We might as well jump right in to conversation #1. I was talking with several clients lately and their remarks went something like this - ‘we have never really advertised before…mostly word of mouth’. Great! That is the best advertising! But then the conversation would get to something like ‘We aren’t getting the new customers like we did in the past’ or ‘I wish we could grow like we use to’. Hhmm! You know what my thought was? Success is a dangerous thing! That’s right…success left unchecked can play a major role in a company’s failure! You get complacent! You don’t engage in legitimate conversations about opportunities. Today’s world is competitive. Just like you…your competitor has more access to your customers and prospects than ever before. The market place moves faster. Customers are more educated about the buying process and about the products/services they are buying. The days of just opening the door, flipping on the light and calling that a ‘growth plan’ is over.
Today you have to expect more from your two most important assets: time and money. Success can numb us to needs. Success can mask lurking issues…it blinds us to things that need to be evaluated – that need to be improved – that need to be changed - it can kill the drive to lead or to be innovative. I understand you’re successful, but over time your inability to deal with success will slowly eat at market share. Keep success in check. Maybe you do need to advertise or try marketing strategies you have never done before. A store remodel may be in order. Revisit your service model. It could be that you’re in great shape…but don’t assume that. Fight the urge to say ‘we have never done it that way before’. Save yourself from your own success!
The second conversation was a little depressing - but let’s turn that frown upside down. I was talking with some business owners about the advantages and disadvantages of owning/building your own business. We are each in different stages of business growth, but can relate to one another on some level. It became apparent that my role in the conversation was to be the ‘yin’ to their ‘yang’…the ‘sun will come out tomorrow’ guy! Say it with me…this too shall pass. That was my role. As a business owner you have a lot on your plate. The challenge is to keep the dream-reality hologram firmly implanted in your brain.
You know what a hologram is? Well, let me explain it in MY simple-minded terms. Remember when you would get those cool prizes in your cereal. And one of the coolest was the baseball card sized hologram…hold in one way and its David Banner – slight turn and it’s the HULK! Your job is to keep the dream vs. reality hologram in view and let it drive you. Yes…you have to drudge through the day-to-day mire and muck of payables, receivables, inventory, payroll, etc… YET – at the same time you have to turn that hologram card and remember why you do what you do. The challenge is to let the dream drive your attitude and guide your decisions. Why is this so important, and how does it relate to your marketing? Well, your customers are not just a ‘demo’ or a ‘target’ – they are humans. Your employees, your vendors, your prospects - all human beings! They spend money and they have emotions, feelings, friends, contacts, Facebook and mouths (to better tell their stories with). When they aren’t at work or doing business with you…they have the potential to bury you or build you. Your attitude and motivation can directly affect their word of mouth. If you are a business owner or decision maker then you are always marketing. In a lot of cases – you are the brand! Your challenges: do not let success lead to your failures and keep that dream-reality hologram in sight. See you next time.
(Clint Powell is owner of Connect Marketing, a full service advertising agency in Chattanooga. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman College. He has spent years in radio advertising sales and management, built and sold a billboard company and works on a contract basis with other ad agencies writing ad copy and helping formulate strategies. Clint has worked with hundreds of local and regional companies over the years and helped them develop advertising campaigns. He frequently leads marketing and advertising seminars and meetings for businesses and network groups. He believes that life is all about connections and spends his time connecting businesses and business owners to solutions. He sits on the board of Y-Cap (YMCA Community Action Program) and helps with several other non-profits. Clint currently resides in East Ridge with his wife and three children.)