Business Survival with the Internet

Will My Business Survive Online?

If this sounds ominous, that’s good. That is what I intended. If you are a manufacturer of products, retailer, or a service provider (like the legal or health care industry) you have seen the enormous impact the internet has had on your business. The internet and mobile revolution has stripped businesses of the advantages of buyer’s ignorance and local proximity.

Why people love to buy online

Why do consumers prefer to buy and compare online?

How can a businesses survive with internet giants like Ebay, Amazon, and WebMD? With more popping up everyday marketers cannot deliver the sales or the market share of the past by simply being creative with advertising. Today 83% of consumers admit they have bought over the internet. A healthy 59% of consumers say they use the internet specifically to research products/companies and compare pricing before purchasing, and 67% of smartphone owners say they use their phones for shopping and comparative pricing.

For most businesses to survive in this new age of hyper-communication, you’re going to have to help your marketing out by improving what YOU offer. You need to re-assess your product, your quality and make great strides to become more exceptional, genuine, consistent and competitive than ever before. Today, the consumers are dictating what they want. You as a business have to deliver what they want – not what you want to sell them.

The best way to achieve this is to put a high priority on improving your quality. This is your best defense against easy substitution and competitive pricing. You need to create the type of brand that is always known for value, quality and a great customer experience. Then, throw a little marketing into the mix and you’ll have a great recipe for success. Large and small businesses who are applying these aspects to their business are seeing positive results. By listening and understanding their consumers, and giving them what they want, they are gaining loyal customers and continued sales while developing revolutionary products.

Here are examples of two companies that were very successful making themselves exceptional, by improving their quality, and customer experience:

1. Harley-Davidson

Harley Davidson Re-Branded

Harley Davidson Press Release

Back in 1985, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle was at risk of disappearing from highways when it almost went bankrupt. What saved the company? It was a

better product to match the well-known brand.

“In 1982, Harley-Davidson had no money of its own,” said Richard F. Teerlink, the former CFO turned CEO. “We were $90 million in debt, and bankers

weren’t willing to loan us a penny. We had a good brand and loyal customers, but we weren’t generating a profit because we didn’t have a quality product at that point. We had to improve the quality of our product to be fair to the customer. If we hadn’t improved the reliability of Harley-Davidson products, the company wouldn’t be here today.”

The Lesson: Support your brand with a high-performing product and weed out inefficient management. “Be aware of controls that are barriers to effectiveness,” said Teerlink.

2. Apple

471d79093551485a61fae8be4dca2114In 1997, Apple was veering dangerously close to bankruptcy. 17 years later, stock prices have gone from $6 to $350 and the company is stronger than ever. What changed? By producing reliable and elegantly designed products such as the iMac, iPods, and iPads, Apple became a juggernaut in technology. Nearly every product released has been an instant hit, and every move Steve Jobs drove a media frenzy around new products.

The Lesson: By listening to your customers then building creative products that are well-made, and meeting or exceeding their expectations, you have achieved the most critical marketing objective of all.  Then, by enhancing it with beautiful packaging, you can create a more positive experience for your customers, just as Apple has done with its stores.

Marketing starts with customer satisfaction. Although this can become a daunting task and seem overwhelming, you need to re-assess your products, your quality and make great strides to become more exceptional, genuine, consistent and competitive than ever before. Knowing where to start can be difficult. Consulting an established marketing agency or research firm may be beneficial at this point. Working together with your combined knowledge, you can develop a marketing strategy and plan that can help you effectively meet your critical business objectives.

It’s worth repeating: Today consumers are dictating what they want, and you as a business have to deliver what THEY want – NOT what you want to sell them.


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