The Market is Changing, Are You Listening?

I just finished reading an article on Hubspot’s blog written by Dave Clarke of Hologram Publishing where he talks about reasons to create an on-line presence. Change is inevitable and it is continuous he says. Dave quotes Isaac Asimov “Continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

Yet many SMB’s will inevitably ignore this sage advice realizing they should have gotten involved while they’re looking for a job after their business failed. Many of them will make an attempt to try to develop their websites themselves. This usually leads to an immense amount of frustration due to the high learning curve. It also means neglecting their core business, something they’re were already good at. Many SMB’s will try to go the cheap route, not realizing that the true cost is the sales you won’t get because you didn’t seek professional help.

Many of these same businesses will continue to try the old tried and true methods of advertising…thats right…the phone book, newspaper ads, cold calling and radio. How’s that working for ya?

Dave makes a good point that there is no newspaper on the face of the earth where 600 million people go for hours at a time, every day. 111 million people watch the Super Bowl…for one day while there are 140 million tweets posted per day, 1 billion sent per week. There is probably more people playing fantasy football than watch the Super Bowl.

His point is that there is no publication, no tv show, no radio show, and certainly no phone book that gets as much traffic as the Internet. FaceBook alone gets 12.5% of every 8 minutes spent on-line and 64% of those 600 million people have become “fans” of a business page. The telephone book ends up in the recycling bin.

The Internet will be a tough world in which to compete. It brings our society back to when your customers really knew you. If you didn’t provide quality products and service everyone in town knew about it. I recently had a former customer, one we dropped because he didn’t live up to the hype he wanted us to deliver. He was one of those who thought it was a waste of time to put in the hard work that marketing can be. He figured a web site would be enough to bring them in. We had listed his company on the local search engine business directories for Google, Yahoo, Bing and other industry directories. But he wouldn’t make any entries into a blog nor participate in any Social Media beyond setting up an account.  Since he didn’t live up to his own hype, we dropped him as a customer.

About a year after we dropped him he contacts us by telephone. He wanted to know how to remove some negative comments that were posted on Google local listings by an irate customer. Instead of dealing directly with the customer, he wanted to know if removing his web site from the Internet would remove the negative comments too. After I quit laughing I told it wouldn’t. Then he wanted to know if I could remove the comments from the Internet. I told him no. Needless to say, he didn’t take my advice. The comments are on-line and they’re the only comments on-line aside from his website.

That former customer is a classic example of someone who simply isn’t listening…he just doesn’t get it. Many SMB’s do so to their own detriment. Hopefully they will open their eyes and their ears to reality, sooner rather than later.

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Author: Rich Garling

Successful results-driven experience in IT program/project management, focusing on collaborating with multiple businesses and IT workstreams to define detailed business process requirements into workable enterprise software solutions for retail, finance, pharmaceutical, and inventory processes. A successful proven track record in leading cross-functional international teams of project managers while managing expectations and delivering projects of greater than $10M within stakeholder expectations. Provided an in-depth knowledge of SDLC using Agile and Waterfall project management methodologies (Scrum Master (SMC)), MS IT Management/Project Management (AMU)), and a talent for developing business requirements delivering workable technology solutions. Rich holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Information Technology/Project Management from American Military University. He is currently a Project Manager III for Bradford Hammacher Group in Niles, IL/