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Paddle Faster! Your Competition Is Coming On Strong!

07/10/2012

Is your business adapting to today’s consumer?  Or are you treading water?

By today’s consumer I’m not just referring to those effected by a stagnant economy and 8+% unemployment. Today’s consumer is influenced by social media, constantly connected via mobile, offered more options via eCommerce, given fluid pricing with showrooming and, thanks to QR codes, the today is the dawn of the more informed consumer.

Signs of the drivers of today’s consumer can be found everywhere. Watch a major league baseball game (after the All Star break) and you’ll see a significant number of spectators directly behind home plate staring at their smartphones. Go to a country or rock concert and at least one-third of the audience is pointing phone cameras at the performers. Go to a restaurant – people seated together at the same table are necessarily conversing – instead they’re on their phones or interacting with the phone.

Selling – driven by merchandising and marketing has changed. It’s changed big and it’s not done changing.

Sellers, including retailers and wholesalers, adapting to change will do OK. Some will do quite well, while others will just hang on. However, those brands continuing the same old strategies will pay a heavy price. Back to School begins in June not August. Consumers hang onto products like cars, electronics and recreational products longer unless presented with new performance or technologies. Inflated mark-ups to support sale prices (wink – wink) will fade away. Single channel selling will no longer be an option.

Your competition is evolving too. For every day you put off a social media campaign your competition is adding followers by the fistful. And the game-changers are not just start=ups or internet companies. Venerable brands like Coca-Cola, General Electric and Burberry’s are rocking social media. For a free copy of Hubspot’s “50 Brand’s Rocking Social Media” click here.

Today is the day to start innovating. Innovate your connection strategy, be creative with your marketing, mix up your product/service assortment, hire some new blood, throw out the recycled planning calendar you’ve used for the past 4 years, test new products or services. Whatever you do, don’t stop trying.

The alternative is to keep doing the same old thing, except I’d paddle faster if I were you. The competition is bearing down.

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