More Marketing? Oh, To Be More Like Schwartz's World Famous Smoked Meat Deli on the Main in Montreal.
Most Montrealers have stood on the side walk on the Main outside Schwartz's in Montreal. They wait their turn to get in to eat the world famous smoked meat. Wouldn't it be great if your customers lined up to buy your product or service? Unfortunately, it takes much more effort for most companies to be in touch with their customers.
Marketing is a function that many companies are not happy about and neglect. This was the finding of a recent study done by an association of software companies in Montreal, R�seau inter logiQ (www.interlogiq.ca). The association found that only 1/3 of companies in the study invested more than 12% of annual revenues in marketing and sales. This compares with 1/3 of companies investing more than 30% of annual revenues in R&D. Many of these companies are concerned with e-commerce and internet marketing, so the results seem surprising. The association is now asking its members to suggest why this happens. Here we explore two possible reasons for this neglect of marketing.
Reason #1 - Marketing problems aren't "in your face"
An earlier newsletter gave one reason. The newsletter title was 'Urgent, Important - Is there a marketing issue you are neglecting?' This used the concept suggested by Stephen Covey (author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"). In summary, there are three fundamental assets of any successful company:
- the team (enthusiastic, expert and always learning to stay ahead of the competition)
- the internal operational systems (producing the products and services best suited for the clientele), and
- the market niche of satisfied customers
When problems arise with either of the first two of these assets, you usually hear about it quickly. Your best employee is unhappy with her salary and got an offer from a competitor. Your production process shot out 10% of widgets that were off spec. Both types of problems quickly end up at your office door.
Marketing problems are different. Your competition is talking to your best customer. A new competitor is offering much lower prices to some of your potential customers. Your second largest customer was more upset than you realized at the last price increase. Often you only hear about such problems when it is too late. Your antennae must be much more sensitive to pick up problems affecting your market asset. This is why it is so easy to overlook a major marketing problem.
Reason #2 - We would so like customers to find us - just as they find Schwartz's
As the old story goes, build a better mouse-trap and the world will come beating a path to your door. Some companies would like to rely on word-of-mouth. Many companies hope that, by describing their incredible product on a website, they will have people contacting them, just like the old story. It doesn't work out like that, but it's interesting to explore why companies would so like this approach to work.
It all relates to the difference between the hunter and the hunted, the pursuer and the pursued, the wooer and the "wooed". If you are being wooed, then you are in the control position. If you are the wooer, then you have to work harder and you're not in the control position.
The supplier as the wooer
If you must woo your potential customers, then you must show that you are better than the other "suitors". Selling was always difficult. The Internet now allows the potential customer to easily do research and find other possible suppliers. The wooer must try to deliver the best value to the potential customer. However the potential customer is always in the driving seat.
The supplier as the "wooed"
In some rare cases, a supplier will find that potential customers do come looking. Write Harry Potter novels and people will even steal to get their hands on the next one. Make smoked meat that becomes world famous and people line up on the side walk of St-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal. When this happens, the supplier is in the driving seat. Of course, you must still deliver customer satisfaction. However you can set your terms and conditions to work most economically for yourself. Your prices can be stronger. You can even afford to lose some sales by having a price that causes a small fraction of potential customers to go "ouch".
Even if you could be the wooed, perhaps you should act like a wooer
As a supplier of highly desirable products, it is always dangerous to act too much like the wooed. Customers who must have a product will possibly put up with inconveniences and irritations. However if these inconveniences and irritations do not occur, then the customer is even more delighted. You are not leaving a gap that can be exploited by a competitor. Such a competitor may develop a similar product and he has never inconvenienced or irritated the customer. So the best advice to a supplier is always think like a wooer, even if you could be the wooed.
As the wooed, you might be tempted to wait. People will contact you after seeing your website or will hear of you by word-of-mouth. Again, your business is probably better served by thinking like a wooer, rather than the wooed. Particularly with e-marketing the costs of contacting potential clients are modest, relative to the returns you will make. Your aim should be too many customers, rather than not enough.
So will you be the wooer or will you be the wooed?
Unfortunately most of us do not have a choice. Perhaps too many of the software companies in the R�seau inter logiQ survey are relying on the world finding them. They may feel that the products they have are world-beaters. Even if their products are great, it is unlikely that enough potential customers will find them. An appropriate marketing plan involving the Internet and other marketing initiatives is critical. Only through this will the business grow at the rate they deserve.
If you would like some help with your wooing, SMM will be happy to assist you in making your marketing and selling program deliver maximum profit effectiveness. Our help can be configured to meet exactly the needs you have. Our strengths, experience, creativity and practical common sense can complement those of your company. So write us a Message today on what you're looking for without obligation.
Series Author: Barry Welford
For information on interesting Montreal places to visit, see
Frommer's Montreal & Quebec City 2009 Guide (Frommer's Complete)
Montreal & Quebec City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)
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Copyright 2003 Barry Welford, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Added to site 12 May 2003
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