If You Build It...They May Not Come

There was a time in the distant past when businesses opened their doors and people flocked to them eager to spend their hard earned money. Brick and mortar establishments seemed to thrive and last by just picking a decent location and offering a good product or service at a competitive price. Times were good.

As competition heated up and more people beat down the barriers to entry, different forms of retail and service started with the advent of direct marketing. Catalogs, mailings and the phone allowed many marketers to sell their wares without ever meeting the client or even laying one product on a shelf. For years, the mail order business thrived and the service industry was able to fill their days with referrals and yellow page inquiries.

Then in more modern times, the computer and internet more or less replaced the phone and print media. Consumers could order gifts, clothes, food and even a pizza direct from their desktop, laptop. Technology now has shifted to smaller tablets and smart phones making the desktop and some laptops now irrelevant. But the progression does not just end there. Until a few years ago, businesses still could just open their doors, or electronic gateway and watch the orders pour in. This is no longer the case.

Whether you operate from a physical location, sell from your bedroom in your underwear or still rely on the mail or print ads, getting business is just plain hard. With a shrunken economy, added competiton both domestically and abroad and an ever changing consumer taste, it take more than just opening a business to stay in business.

Assuming you have successfully set up the infrastructure, hired and trained a staff, obtained working capital and chosen quality suppliers, you are only a part of the way there. The biggest ingredient in the business mix is now MARKETING. That simple word has now become a multi-headed monster. Marketing used to be synonymous with advertising. And it still is, but the times have changed.

While media advertising on radio, billboards, in print and on TV is still one means of getting out the word, it still pales in comparison to the growing phenomenom of social media. If you want to stay in business in the future and obtain new customers, that means you must think younger. Where does anyone under the age of 30 get their information? Online! From social outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Even older consumers are catching on and accenting their daily searching on LinkedIn and other websites that are in purpose to share information.

So, if less people are watching TV or reading the newspaper, you must follow them to the next place. Consider a marketing campaign that caters to the technology age of today and tomorrow. If you don't have a Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter account, get one soon. People look to these sites for reviews, buzz and especially what businesses have to say and offer. And have fun with it. Because today's marketing is all about fun.

When you combine old methods with new methods, you hit a grand slam. Word of mouth, occasional ads in print, door hangers, signs on cars and trucks, promotional giveaways all used in conjunction with an online presence will allow you to get your message out in so many ways that your business cannot help but be noticed.

Posted by Mike Lerner