One answer might be;
“It is a sign of the times!” Or is it?
Consumer spending is actually up according to Gallup Economy Consumer Reports Aug 2012, though unemployment in some areas of the US are in the double digits we are very fortunate to be living in Doral, FL where we are well below the National unemployment rate. So our customers are spending at least the same if not more than before and hence the question now becomes more pressing.
WHERE HAVE YOUR CUSTOMERS GONE?
There is a major disconnect in how we as consumers find the products and services that we need and how we as business owners go about finding our customers. Marketing has evolved almost incomprehensibly; we spend thousands of dollars in advertising yet don’t have the level of customers that we want or need for our business to flourish. As part of my daily ritual I empty out my mail box and inevitably end up throwing away 80% to 90% of the mail box content as junk. I ask my friends, customers and co-workers if they have the same experience and they all do the same. I can’t help but wonder how much money is going out in trash in colorful flyers brochures and glossy offers that many business owners spend hours and thousands of dollars planning only to hopefully get 1% to 5% return.
Now let’s look at this a little closer, imagine for a moment being new to the City of Doral and not knowing anyone like so many of our new residents coming to our beautiful city every month. Now imagine that you want to find a product or service you might want or need, for example let us imagine we want to find a good Hair Stylist. How do we go about finding the Stylist?
As a consumer we typically will go to the internet and conduct some kind of web search for the product or service we are looking for. We might go to Google and conduct a search for Hair Stylist or Salon and type in Doral or place a zip code in the address bar. Then we typically select one of the top three or four choices and visit that business. In many cases we do these searches right from a smart phone. According to recent statistics 53% of smart phones searches result in an immediate visit or purchase by the customer within 24 hours.
Now lets look at the same situation as business owners. How do we try to reach out to that new or even existing customer? Well most spend the thousands of dollars budgeted annually on print media, radio and TV advertisements, some even go a bit further and invest in elaborate web sites. Then we tell ourselves, it’s the economy and people are just not spending money. The truth is a lot less complicated then you might think.
Digital “Pull” and “Push” Marketing has been slowly but very effectively taking e-commerce to your consumer’s smart phones. In our fast paced life styles we don’t go anywhere without our cell phones, in fact; studies have shown that at any point in time in the day the average consumer is less than 6 feet from the cell phone and using the smart phone more and more. Purchases for products and services using smart phones have increased to records highs in just a few years. Competition that anticipated this marketing shift have developed MOBILE APPS to capture this growing business trend.
To find the places, products and services we use; we are slowly replacing the desk tops, laptops, print media, and traditional marketing methods and are favoring the speed, ease and comfort of using our cell phones and smart phones. So the question should not be where have your customers gone but rather how can you get your business into the multimillion dollar industries of e-commerce and mobile commerce growing daily?
Many businesses are investing in MOBILE APPS and using many of the features that smart phones users are raving over like, digital coupons, QR Codes, RSS feeds, Fan pages, GPS locators and much more. If you want to compete and you want to grow you must go where the customers are going or better still where their phones are going.