An outward sign of an unhealthy business is the use of unhealthy business practices to keep it afloat.
- Does it offer frequent discounts? Sure, those can get attention, but they also eat into profit margins.
- Over-the-top advertising tactics? For the initial shock factor, they could work, but then consumers are a tough lot and will filter those out soon enough.
That is: Block them out, or worse, complain. And in these times, bad publicity is bad publicity, which is not what an already struggling business needs to be remembered for.
Resorting to such tactics is essentially self-sabotage, and paints a pretty bad picture of the business that uses them. Think about it: You have a product, but you only get to sell it at a discounted price, and you have to resort to extreme measures to get people to notice that you’re selling it.
If you have to shriek, wave, and practically jump up and down to get attention from your market, if you need to keep offering sales and discounts to entice people to buy, then you’re ignoring the painful truth that you can be selling things that your market doesn’t really want or need, or you’re failing to show the market the value that your product or service has.
And quite possibly, you may be doing both.
Look at it from the other side, you can assume the consumer/customer point of view. “Sales are great, yay, we get to save money and get what we want!” And so they flock to what’s being offered on sale, hunting for bargains, slash-downs and red-tagged offerings, rejoicing at the seasonal mark-downs they’ve been waiting all year for….
But the other side of the story is that customers are also getting smarter, pickier, and more savvy about where and how they spend their time and money. People who avoid the crowds on Black Friday, for example, and instead shop online, saving travel-time, gas, and the aggravation.
- Think of the images that can be associated with the words ‘bargain-basement,’ rock-bottom, ‘cheap’ and ‘a steal.’
- Compare it to how people can associate price and value.
- And then top this off with aggressive, pushy advertising and marketing tactics, and remember how people treat spam. And spammers.
Resorting to tactics like frequent discounts and pushy advertising to keep your business running isn’t just a marketing and advertising problem. It’s a fundamental issue affecting the core of the business.
There is only so far you can go when you slash prices that cut into your profit. There is only so much time a brand can last with annoying marketing tactics. Doing so means there’s a basic problem in communicating with your market –and remember, communication goes both ways — because your brand or product must provide enough value for your niche, and your tactics are failing to communicate that to your market effectively.
If you believe that the service or product you provide has real value, you don’t have to de-value it to get attention. Let the quality provided speak for itself, and better yet, let your loyal customers speak for you — something that is way better than pushy self-promotion.
Short term-financial boost east at long-term growth — anyone can take the bait, but what will that mean for you and the quality of the relationships you want to build with your customers?
- Running a business means making money. Keeping it going means building relationships with your customers.
- You can do both by giving quality and without compromising price or communication.
Let’s put it this way: Consistent improvement > Pushy sales tactics.
Present your product as the BEST option, then BE that.
In competing for market share it’s not unusual to witness email blasts and ads announcing sales, discounts and similar events. For the most part, companies have become fixated on assisting their bottom line by using tactics that act like band-aids on a deep wound, choosing to try and fix the symptom of slow sales and low sales with the draw of lowered prices. In the short-term, these tactics can give a boost, but in the long run, the deeper problem goes unnoticed.
You can improve your marketing by improving the intrinsic value of your products or services. Again, go back to the core to fix it. You see your market has a need, and you have what answers that need. Focus on supplying your customers with your solution, and keep working on ways to make it work better for them.
- If you provide a service, what about better training for technicians, more streamlined and faster delivery systems, or more integrated service offerings?
- How about looking at your own company and making the corporate culture one that promotes excellent customer and client relations, instead of mostly relying on ads and sales communication? This means investing in actions and things that improve the business, and not just sales.
When people need to solve an issue, or need something, they go look for their choices. It’s basic. When you want to show these people you have the solution, you can advertise, or you can market. Discounts and pushy ads are advertising. They catch attention. Marketing, done well, keeps attention.
With all the hundreds and thousands of ads we’ve been exposed to since childhood, it’s near automatic now for us to screen out anything that smacks of advertising. You change the channel, you turn the page, you click away or close the tab. Your market can do that with you easily.
A business that focuses its marketing efforts on more substantial areas that help actually improve the business and not just sales has a better advantage than one that focuses primarily on advertising efforts. Improve your delivery and shipping system, for example, or work on providing superior customer and front-line service, can add more the bottom line and strengthen your brand’s value in the eyes of your market.
People simply have too many choices now. If you want to be a better business, then you actually have to become better. Provide better services and products. Don’t just advertise to your market, but engage with your customers. Instead of selling the sizzle, and not the steak, use the sizzle, sell with the steak, and make it a good experience for your customers so they’ll remember you for all the right reasons.
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