Held Prisoner in the Past?

There is an old axiom “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.  That particular saying has been reworded many times and used in various forms but the message continues to be the same.  I have never doubted the importance of knowing and understanding our past but I recognize the difference between knowing and being trapped in that past.

We are seeing this increasingly in the area of marketing and demographic identification (niche marketing).  Niche marketing is the process of breaking down a sector of consumers into smaller groups in order to find your particular customer.  The advancements being made in technology and e-commerce has opened up thousands of niche markets.  However the old guard of the marketing community is not even close to keeping pace with these changes.  They have a model that has worked in the past and prefer to hold onto their history and their accounts.  Much like those sixty year old managers and economic developers who prefer to sit it out waiting for their pension.

Too many niche markets are being ignored or going unnoticed by mainstream marketing firms simply because they are trapped in their past concepts of marketing strategies.  They can charge more for quantity over quality of consumers.  This approach traps businesses with a user base that is largely redundant.  However the large marketing companies can do that due to the myth of their indispensability.

Social media is changing that.  The small business owner now has the power of major marketing on their cellphones.  Social media and the proliferation of marketing apps makes it possible for local businesses owners to conduct campaigns that only five years ago would have been, not only unheard of, but unaffordable.

In todays marketplace by using the right tools any business can have an international customer base with a less than a five hundred dollar investment.  That marketing campaign that use to cost into the thousands can now be done for two or three hundred dollars.  Not only can you run a very cost effective marketing campaign but you can quickly identify your high return customers.

Tweep Map
A Tweep Map attached to your Twitter account shows you where your customers are.

You can target your marketing at those who fit your parameters rather than hoping the ad in the local news paper or your placement in the mall will bring you the right customer.  Using any number of free services or apps you can find your niche customers while avoiding the “window shoppers”.  You are in control of your own marketing and can adapt with the push of a button.  You are not subject to someone trapped in the past because “that’s the way it has always been done”.  You are adapting to the future needs of the consumer and you are positioning yourself for the new generation of shoppers.  The failure of Target in Canada is a prime example of a company that couldn’t adapt.

Recognizing and reacting to shifting demographics is key to sustainability in today’s marketplace.  To ignore this phenomenon in the marketing process is courting failure. According to http://www.pewinternet.org as of January 2014:

  • 90% of North American adults have a cell phone
  • 58% of North American adults have a smartphone
  • 32% of North American adults own an e-reader
  • 42% of North American adults own a tablet computer
  • 74% of all online adults use social media
  • 89% of adults ages 18-29 use social media
  • 82% of adults ages 30-49 use social media
  • 65% of adults ages 50-64 use social media
  • 49% of adults ages 65+ are now using social networking sites like Facebook
  • 72% of consumers have made their purchasing decision up long before finalizing their transaction.

The new business person can learn from the past while adapting for the future.  One of the major lessons of understanding the past is those that don’t adapt, disappear.  You can either be a manager awaiting their retirement package or a successful entrepreneur adapting to the changing market place.

One man’s opinion!

 

Procrastination Should Not Be Your Marketing Strategy

Christmas is that time of year where you separate the wheat from the chaff for the hard core procrastinator.  Christmas is a holiday we all know a year in advance will be here on that exact date, yet so many people wait until that last moment before tackling the holiday shopping.  Many marketers would argue that the shopping aspect is the most important part of the Christmas season.  Businesses don’t want to lose out on that market share.

Consumer procrastination is nothing new, it is actually quite endemic.  Businesses and marketers have dealt with it for years.  There is a plethora of sales rolled out in the last few days before Christmas to capitalize on the procrastinating shopper.  But times have changed and many businesses are not playing catch up very successfully.

Technology now encourages procrastination.  It is easier to put things off because the new consumer knows they can do anything they need through social media.   Todays procrastinators simply pick up their smartphone, tablet or other social media device to shop without ever entering a brick and mortar store.  Social media is the procrastinators shopping treasure chest.

In a world with Internet, on-line shopping and e-commerce it is even easier to delay or “put it off for now”.  The technology of social media makes it easier to be a procrastinator.  However the same technology that encourages procrastination can also be used to overcome it.  Consumer procrastination can be planned for but how do you deal with marketing procrastination?

Successful marketing can sink a business when you have a marketing culture that procrastinates.  When you have a marketing strategy that is based on the “paper flyer” model while having your social media on the back burner, you are procrastinating.  “Thinking about” entering the social media market place is not the same as “planning” for it.  Thinking about it is just another form of procrastination while planning for it is actively taking ownership!

We'll get around to the repairs...someday!
We’ll get around to the repairs…someday!

For businesses to be successful in todays market they need to innovate not procrastinate.  They need to dip into the array of technology available to them and develop an understanding of social media.  The dependence on print advertising will no longer generate sustainable customer loyalty.  That market is changing and it is changing fast.  There is no time for marketers that procrastinate.  They are a barrier to success.

There is an old adage that defines this perfectly “Fail to plan, plan to fail“.  Is your marketing campaign adapting to this?  Does your ability to innovate outweigh your habit to procrastinate?  The world of social media now allows small business to accomplish amazing marketing tasks while maintaining a realistic marketing budget.  Do you realize how far something as minimal as a $500 budget annually will go in today’s world of social marketing?

When it comes to the need for a social media plan the statistics speak for themselves.

According to http://www.pewinternet.org/ as of January 2014:

  • 90% of North American adults have a cell phone
  • 58% of North American adults have a smartphone
  • 32% of North American adults own an e-reader
  • 42% of North American adults own a tablet computer
  • 74% of all online adults use social media
  • 89% of adults ages 18-29 use social media
  • 82% of adults ages 30-49 use social media
  • 65% of adults ages 50-64 use social media
  • 49% of adults ages 65+ are now using social networking sites like Facebook
  • 72% of consumers have made their purchasing decision up long before walking into the store.

Imagine what these figures will look like in January 2015.  No business should be losing out on this market due to the inability to innovate or adapt.  Your customers of tomorrow have arrived today and if you are not ready they won’t be back.  Social media takes your business out of its kiosk in the Mall and puts you in the global market place.

In the fast paced world of social media businesses should already be planning their marketing campaigns for the coming year.  If you haven’t begun your planning for a social media strategy in 2015 you are procrastinating.  That can only result in lost business and lack of growth.  Now is the time to be planning your marketing campaign for 2015.  Start innovating before procrastinating leaves you behind.  You will wind up being that Christmas shopper who is stuck with a bad tie or left over sales socks that nobody else wanted!

Just one man’s opinion!

 

Progressive Nanaimo

I left Vancouver Island seven years ago to return Calgary for career purposes.  I grow up in Calgary.  I have lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax but I have continually returned to Calgary.  However having moved to Vancouver Island in 1990 made this my longest absence from Calgary.  This 18 year absence meant a major adjustment period to reacclimatize myself.

Calgary has changed and grown in so many ways.  Growing up I had lived on the edge of the city, it’s now an inner city community.  That is how much growth has gone on.  Not only has it grown, it has matured.  Even the weather patterns have changed, the summers can be great but the winters can be killers.  And having not been wheelchair dependent when I left Calgary I was really seeing the city from a different prospective.  The minus 35 winter weather and the wheelchair was a real eye opener which eventually led me back to where I am.

For those of you who attended attended your high school physics classes with better frequency than myself you will understand how quickly air in a tire will dissipate in extreme cold.  Between the ambient air temperature and the snow on the ground wheelchair tires can go flat in under three minutes when the temperature is colder than -25.  Anyone who has lived on the prairies knows that is not an uncommon winter temperature.  Putting nitrogen in my tires could address the flattening factor.  It doesn’t deal with how curb cuts become useless when the snow is piled there.   The other issue nitrogen doesn’t deal with is how cold and slippery metal wheel rims can be.

It is difficult to wear warm gloves when you are responsible for manoeuvring your own wheelchair.  It is very difficult to get a good grip on your wheel rims when you have big bulky gloves on and when the gloves get wet nothing is going to warm them up except the laundry dryer at home.  So frost bite on figure tips was not uncommon.  The easiest solution (also laziest) was to hibernate and not go out.  Thank god for computers and the Internet otherwise hibernation would just be a slow death.

So after giving it a good six years and surviving one hell of a flood I decided to move Kelowna.  My aging mother lives there and I was best positioned of all my siblings to adjust my life by moving to Kelowna.  So I moved to Kelowna and spend one year.  Trust me, if you don’t golf, ski, bike, hike, swim or hit the bars there’s very little to do in Kelowna except attend funerals.  The best thing about moving to Kelowna was the direction.

It got me half way to my son and a grandson who hadn’t existed when I left.  When it became obvious Kelowna wasn’t for me the decision was made to move back to the Island and see what I could generate.  This move brought me to Nanaimo, a city I hadn’t lived in for over twenty years.  But my son and grandson are here so this is where I settled.

I have been here a little over a month and I am very impressed so far.  Nanaimo, I am discovering, is a very progressive city.  Just follow the tweets of @YPNanaimo and you will get a good idea of just how forward thinking this city is.

This apartment building has some resident plug ins for electric cars, progressive
This apartment building has some resident plug ins for electric cars, progressive

I found a nice little place up in the Country Club area and this is the first time I can remember ever having lived on the main floor of a building.  On the Island that can be a benefit due to the occasional winter power outages.  The winds can get a little crazy here which can bring down power lines.  So being on the main floor means I don’t have to play Russian Roulette with elevator dependability.

The power outage game was one I had gotten use to while living in the Cowichan Valley.  It is a way of live on any island so you just deal with it.  Which brings me to the accompanying picture.

As I indicated Nanaimo is a very progressive city.  This building is only a year old and was build for the future rather than waste time catching up.  Besides being completely outfitted with fibre optics rather than copper wiring the building installed a number of electric car charging station in the building parking lot.  That’s a picture of one of them.  They are obviously out there but this is the first time I have ever lived in a building that was that forward thinking.  That’s the type of thinking that screams “Hey vandalize me” back in Calgary, the city where the drive through Tim Hortons is attached to the gas station.  Anyway I think it is pretty cool.

As an added bonus, if you drive an electric car and live in this building, power outages will now offer you another option to work from home.  “My car didn’t charge overnight!”.  And working from home is something I am really looking forward to.  From what I can tell so far @NanaimoBulletin is very open to technology which fits my agenda perfectly.  Nanaimo I am here and ready to go.  If it is business enhancing technology, content management or social media marketing you are looking for then just ask me.

Glad to be back on the Island and quite enjoying Nanaimo.

Just one man’s opinion!