Imagine a shop front in a great location in a busy commercial centre; there’s lots of people traffic and the store sees many passers-by during the lunch period and early evening. This position has popular cafes, fast food and lunch outlets either side and on the opposite side of the street and it is probably losing money judging by the higher business volume the competing fast food stores enjoy.
Problem / Opportunity
Our shop is in a profitable location, with lots of competition, from substitutes and new shops frequently come and go (see: Porter, 2008). My comment, is that people can be a lazy when it comes to exploiting a good position.
When many people are making money selling buttons, it is smart to sell buttons too and “get me some of that“, when there’s lots of customers and not too many button sellers. In this example, the competition sells more buttons (or take-away food, in this case). What do you do?
I like to make sure there are options and contingency plans, so I always look for more than one pathway forward. The first thing we do is analyse the people-traffic, and imagine ways we can create our opportunity.
- Make your niche: We establish distinct benefits that make us an attractive alternative. In the take-away space, plan to be a favourite rather than exclusive. We can boost success by offering variety in our shop, so the customer doesn’t need to check the other shops to get more choice.
- Move sideways: In our example take-away precinct the options are to move up-, left-, back-, right-, or down- market in this location. A new rustic feel cafe just opened a couple of doors away.
- Outside the box: Is by definition, something completely different like an aquarium & gallery with pretty fish and stunning art for sale.
- Compliment the area: With many take-away shops nearby the area is ready for a complimentary offering like a place to check your email, listen to yor iPod while you eat.
- Clothing or fashion: After eating shoppers like to browse.
- Break the mould: Companies like Fruitopia have demonstrated that people want better, healthier take-away eating choices. In our take-away precinct there are lots of the expected options like burgers, chips, noodles, etc. This is a specific kind of side-ways step.
- Express your self: Think of a retail space like any other resource, its value is the cash flow it can bring in. In this example the basic features of location, people traffic, predictable visitors/time profile. And it’s a good bet it is loosing money now, so the price could be right. Ask yourself what can you do with that kind of opportunity?
There can be many ways to make your customer happy especially when he or she has comes to you — That’s the value of location. To benefit from a location, we need to look at how to translate existing features into customer value. The short list above takes a customer focus to look at this shop’s situation.
There’s no reason we can’t improve the existing operation the same way. The important things are to think fresh, do the right sums and meet the customer, avoid attempts focusing on the customer meeting you … In the way all the shops in that precinct focus on the customer engaging them.
(“Very Small Business“, ABC, 2009)
There is a saying:
“The only good deal is one where both sides are happy.“
There’s a split in the practice with most organisations between what is “marketing” and what is “sales”; and with me on what is “business development”. Unless you are a government entity and it seems they don’t feel a need to “sell nuffun’“.
CEO s view more demanding customers not as a threat, but as an opportunity to differentiate. CEO s are spending more to attract and retain increasingly prosperous, informed and socially aware customers.
Test yourself: Enterprise of the Future assessment tool
A really good sales person is not the guy who makes the sale at all costs, imho. That is the marketing equivalent of a scorched Earth tactic.
A good customer consultant is a trustworthy complement to the customer service of the business. Last week I experienced the impersonal feel of a large Australian corporation’s computer hang-up my phone call … 4 x times! I got through on the 5th and final call. It reminded me why I dumped that company in the 1980-s.
There was more non-personal treatment yesterday when I received a phone call from a “team leader” responding to my on-line feedback that hanging-up on me, even if lines are busy, is MY choice. Calling me in the middle of a busy day, is Not My Choice. Finally because I understand how these systems are assembled, I also know that a customer service “team leader” is not empowered to correct a technical issue with the telephone routing system.
I am not naming the company, they seem to have had a hard enough time with their foot in their mouth this year (and it’s only Feb!).
Have they “diversified to meet my needs”? Are they ready for their future? Did they treat my honestly helpful intention as an opportunity? Or did they [organisationally] want to call me to “educate me” in their ways?
And therein lies my point. Over 2 thirds of the 1,000+ CEO-s surveyed (IBM, 2008, p.7) agree their businesses need to become more personal to work with your customer.
A less kind blogger would have identified my exemplar organisaiton. I suggest you buy shares in one of their competitors. How do you do that, when I didn’t tell you ‘who’ they were?
It is easy, if you do the work. Who responds with genuine customer care and who gets on the news and “educates” us?
… And the joke response to this question is “No. I’m expensive but I have time to help with your problem.”
Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as free lunch. It follows that your customer knows you should take money for your item or service. Here’s a couple of things worth you remembering.
First, a client called me with a great quote on their web site — You may know the deal a fixed number of pages for cost of a few newspaper ads (or less). I said web guy should charge more.
At this point the client’s business associate spoke up with, “Why should we care?!” To the associate low-price was an attraction. I believe that ultimately you get what you pay for. I don’t believe the associate had a mental value of the web site idea.
That happens, one reason for this is that the web site’s business value and business potential was never guess-timated by said client until I became involved. When the value of your purchase is unknown, vague, or personal (as in this case), you can use the “cheap-helps-choose” policy to avoid doing your marketing homework.
- Your web site can be a great asset for a business, or your worst enemy.
- You customer gives you 10 seconds to be interesting.
- Put your web site to work for you, integrate it with your marketing programme.
You as ‘client’ need to pay enough to cover the time your web developer will needs to consult with you about the web site’s business contribution.
- You need a great (enough) web site to deliver public message.
If there’s no free lunch, there will be a direct cost in the gap between the “low price” and what you needed to pay to match your web site’s business performance goals.
What does this say about your own prices? Do you sometimes choose for your customer to pay some of the value in time or frustration so that you can offer lower dollar number?
- Look at the customer-value you supply, and
- The price you set.
Your marketing begins with your understanding how valuable your thing is to your customer. If your price is below the customer’s value, gently remind your customer of the extra value that comes from dealing with you.
Get free — Exchange value …
- Creativity and Innovation
- Engaging with Social Media [Promotion]
- Sharing the Love [product]
- Customer Engagement [place]
- wiki marketing [promotion]
- i-marketing [promotion]
- Great Location [place]
- Optimal Customer Service [product]
- Me vs Shop [promotion]
- Sales isn’t Marketing [personal]
- Are you free? [price]
- Where are you [place]