Small Business Marketing – The Commodity Trap

CityStir Small Business Marketing Are you marketing your small business like a commodity?

All too often small businesses, CityStir Marketing included, in an effort to get business compromise on price.  We offer a huge discount to get business in the hopes that it will give us future business.  Guess what it doesn’t work.

Competing on price is a losing proposition.  It creates a commodity mentality for your client.  For the most part almost everything we sell is a commodity.  The one exception to this rule is Service.  Service is the differentiator.  If you are still trying to compete on price you are doomed to fail.  The race for the bottom has no winners.  There will always be some company or individual that is willing to do what you do cheaper.  It might be the guy down the street or someone half way across the world, but there is always someone willing to do more for less.

What separates you from the competition?

It has to be service.  In today’s market place most products can be easily substituted.  Rarely is a product so superior that it has no equals.  A customer centric approach to marketing is the best way to set your company apart from the competition.  The first way to avoid the trap is to rethink what your product or services does.  Products and services that solve problems or provide positive feeling rarely get sucked into the commodity trap.  If you sell appliances it is tough to compete against the big box stores.  However if you position your store as a place where mothers can come to learn about healthy cooking for the entire family – You’ve just taken the stove from an appliance to something more than that, it is an extension of a caring mother giving the best to her family.

Don’t let what others are doing define your business.  People will buy solutions to problems at any price.  Always position your products and services to be that solution.

Lucy And The Football

Small Business Marketing Solutions from CityStirThe iconic animation of Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute is an indelible visual.  Does the kicking and missing sound familiar?  We all have those suppliers in our working lives whose pitch sounds mighty good.  The ultimate delivery and efficacy of goods, not so much.  We are a faith-based citizenry.  We want to believe the sales pitch.

Big Business“Is there anything else we can help you with?”  (this is the response when they can’t resolve your problem)

Us-“You can help me with the problem I called you in the first place!” 

CityStir Marketing is solely focused on small business solutions.  Big business considers shareholder value a success, consumer experience ephemeral.  Yet we continue to run to the football expecting a clean strike through the goal posts.   There is an imbalance in expectation versus return.

I keep getting the bill in the mail and dutifully returning the payment.  Like most of you, these checks are getting harder to write.

Do we expect too much or are we used to whiffing?

Small Business Marketing – CityStir Now Offering SMS to Small Business Owners

Small Business marketing is changing fast.  Mobile marketing is quickly becoming omnipresent in every small business marketing strategy.

Consider the following:

  • 55% of Americans between ages 18-24 have used their mobile device for shopping.
  • 72% of Americans have used text messaging.
  • 82% of Americans with a mobile device don’t leave home with out the device.
  • 97% of Text messages are opened.

SMS Marketing (Short Message Service) is the most immediate form of marketing available to small business owners.  Within five seconds of sending a message. 97% of the recipients will open the message.  The speed of SMS Marketing allows you to send a “call to action” to your clients and prospects in real time.  SMS Marketing doesn’t need lead time–you can send a message to your clients in a matter of seconds.  CityStir Marketing SMS messages are tracked and you can quickly adjust your campaigns to ensure maximum benefits and ROI.

Mobile marketing business in the 21st century–you can send coupons, run specific sales, and remind clients of appointments.

In addition to SMS Marketing, our mobile marketing solutions include QR Codes and mobile websites.  As your customers become more mobile, this is your perfect opportunity to be in front of the curve and ahead of the competition.

We invite you to learn more about CityStir Marketing’s Mobile solutions.

So You Say You Are A Visionary?

Real Estate Industry GuruDo you see the future?  Do your visions stir you from a deep sleep?  Have they propelled you to scribble fluff or pontificate about what will be?  Your faithful author thinks we have outgrown you.  You are a divining rod, a tarot card, a palm scratcher, a crazy person on the street selling pencils from a cup.  We have evolved in spite of you and away from you.

I used to be a hopeful agnostic.  I wanted to believe in premonitory skill.  I wanted to believe that those with Ivy League diplomas and enough real-world experience could rationally extrapolate likely outcomes.  Atheism has taken hold.  I have a prediction—your psychic irrelevance.

In the days following September 11, 2001 the nut jobs began warbling that Nostradamus had predicted the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York—this little gem of a quatrain:

In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures,
The great leader will succumb,
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.

Did the “oracle” predict the fall of the World Trade Center or the break-up of Simon and Garfunkel?

The brightest minds on Wall Street failed to predict the economic collapse of 2008.  Given the choice of risking nest-egg money with Lehman Brothers or Blackjack at the Bellagio, which seems the better bet in hindsight?  Consumers put their trust (and life savings) in the largest financial institutions because they claimed to know how markets behaved thus reducing risk.  The outcome of these forecasts would not have been a surprise if transparency existed and  investors knew the financial institutions were shorting the products they sold.  Their only focus was then as it is now–self-interest and financial celebrity.

Real estate gurus have been predicting the return of a blazing housing market for the last five years—with no data or evidence to support their soothsaying.  Promulgating false information served self-interest.  ”You should buy now, we have reached a market bottom and things are heating up again!”–2009-2011.

So you say you are a visionary?  Before you stencil that on your office door, bring me some winning lottery numbers.

Until then…..keep your visions to yourself.