Marketing, engaging consumers and success through adaptation.
So you know your customer, but how much do you know about your product? How well will it sell right now? Determining what factors will influence sales can transform any business.
It’s the second installment from The lab, we’ll be looking at how to better react to the changing business environment and how to better serve our clientele.
In our first installment (Understand Your Customers) the focus was on the customer, their purchasing habits, the demographic they fall into and how to yield as much power from the information we can gather by observing the individual.
I want to focus on the opportunities that emerge out of changing circumstances and economic/social trends. Many economic and social circumstances surround the global economy, all of which can fluctuate and even dictate purchasing habits without us even realizing. We need to be aware of the kind of products and marketing decisions that are going to help us emerge successfully from any atmosphere. If the economy is weak or stagnant, it may not be the perfect time to roll out the luxury line of kitty litter, yet if we are in an upturn, perhaps you do want to import that line of designer cocktail dresses. Business owners need to understand how to be observant, flexible, adaptive and conscious of the world around us and how it relates to the consumer.
Be observant: Keep a keen eye on what is emerging in your industry, how things are changing and where the consumer focus is shifting. The more you learn about habits and shifts the better you will get at anticipating the future. When you sense a shift, follow it and if nothing is changing perhaps you aren’t looking hard enough. Consumers who look for value in relation to quality are often those whose purchasing habits made a major shift towards shopping local and buying from start-ups or unique businesses, while price sensitive consumers are more apt to shop online and look for quantity over quality.
How this affects Marketing: If you notice a trend and move towards it make sure you convey this to your customer. No matter if it’s through traditional media, or in-store advertising, you have to make sure your customer knows.
Be flexible: This should be obvious, and it applies to everyone. Flexibility is a key to success. As things change around us you have to flow with them not through. If your business sells something that is out of style or not purposeful then perhaps it’s time to evaluate the worthiness of keeping that product, and keep in mind flexibility also means expanding your horizons beyond what you may typically consider. Take time and examine your industry, consider all of the trends and progressions before you decide which ones you want to take on.
How this affects Marketing: If you are transitioning products perhaps this is a good time to think about making a transition in your image; update your logo, redesign your newsletter, or freshen up your storefront.
Be adaptive: Adaptation is an important step in the evolution of a business, without it a business stands to suffocate under the weight of its own bad decisions. Allow yourself to make the changes to better serve your clientele and invest in the things that will bring them back time and time again. Putting off rebranding or not investing in a new display is as bad as waiting to order sandals in August. We’ve all heard the phrase that “if you’re not moving forward, you’re standing still” and it certainly applies here.
How this affects Marketing: As you adapt to the changing landscape don’t be afraid to invest in the things that will show returns in both the short and long term. Perhaps you need a digital postcard designed, or to freshen up a storefront window display, make haste, and don’t waste any time in getting the message out.
Be conscious: Once all of the smoke and dust clears take the time to be mindful of what you set out to create and what you stand for. There is no sense in operating a business or building a brand if you don’t believe in what you are providing. If you’ve taken the time to fully absorb what is happening around you and change is not in your best interest if nothing else you know you’ve become enlightened. Re-assert your path and keep moving on.
How this affects Marketing: Always hold onto your principals, make decisions based on what you believe in and support those who can help you achieve your goals. Always have the right people at hand for the right job and trust the professionals when dealing with something you don’t understand.
Finally, any good business will continually review their environment, so allow yourself to be carefully observant not just for problems or obstacles but for opportunities. Stay in touch with the things you need to change for success; it’s not always just about what you do and don’t sell it’s about how you can affect the space around you. Always make sure that if your goal is to make a positive impact in your community that you are, or if you want to provide the very best service in your industry that you’re doing everything you can to make that happen. Be engaged in your business and follow the cues as you recognize them to lead yourself down the path marketing and business success.