Lucille Ball famously said, “Ability is of little account without opportunity”. If you want your business to succeed, you must create opportunities for it to do so. You must find ways to make sure that when potential customers want to buy a product, it is yours, not your competitors, that springs to mind. You need your customers to feel that your proposition is trustworthy and innovative at the same time. Keeping top of mind is essential. It is a crowded, busy place, and brands and products continually vie for attention and bandwidth.
Too many would-be ‘millionaires’ dream up a great idea and think they have cracked it. They might even expend vast amounts of time, money, and energy on producing prototypes or even saleable products. That is what Lucille Ball would call ability. These people then sit back and get frustrated when their order books haven’t grown, and they are sitting on stock that they cannot shift. Ms Ball’s analogy would say they failed to create the opportunity. Opportunity is an essential part of the marketing mix. A few half-hearted Facebook ads will not win the battle for attention. You need to have a long-term strategy that you stick to. You must constantly remind your target market that you are there and have something to offer them. Also, remember to give your customers a reason to buy from you and not just wander off to the newest company offering them a cut-price trial.
It is easy for big, established brands. They appear to have unlimited advertising and marketing budgets that allow them to swamp the zone and buy up the airwaves. The behemoths occupy every inch of TV, radio, commercial billboard, and primetime sponsorship space. The likes of Coca-Cola seem to have endless cash reserves, but everything they do is carefully planned and run through cost-benefit ratio calculations. They did not become the giants that they are today by accident. At this point, you might be thinking, ‘what’s the point in trying then?’. Fear not; a small entrepreneurial business with a modest marketing budget can spend wisely and keep themselves in their customers’ thoughts. Here are some examples of some companies that do it well.
It is worth taking a look at how some successful companies operate. For years Coca-Cola just had one ‘original’ drink, then they developed Diet Coke. Product innovation was pretty limited. However, more recently, markets have become much more fragmented, and new competitor flavoured drinks came to the market. Coca-Cola needed to diversify to stay relevant. These days there are countless varieties to choose from, together with new flavour profiles like Vanilla, Raspberry, and Cherry. Consumers want something new. The legacy brand reassures them, and the fresh flavour profile brings excitement and points of interest.
The online gambling sector is also an excellent example of an industry that keeps itself top of its customers’ minds. In many markets, how it can promote products can be limited, so it has had to be genuinely innovative. Sports betting is easy – there is always the next match or the next race to bring punters back. Online casinos do not have that luxury and need to innovate to offer excitement constantly. One of the ways that they do this is by regularly introducing new slots to their portfolio. These could be updated styles of games or newly arrived titles, but they keep the player experience refreshed.
Independent fashion brands
Your business needs to ensure that it offers your customers inspiring and relevant products or services. The fashion industry is a great example to follow. They often drop new lines and clear out slow-moving stock at discounted prices. By building collaborations with influencers and contemporary designers, they piggyback onto the third-parties customer base. Small independent-clothing studio Lucy and Yak seem to do this effortlessly by working with artists and only producing limited editions of their product ranges.