Consider what it was like 15 years ago: no Social Media, no iPads, the World Wide Web had only just recently become an important medium, and even back then we thought we had reached a technological pinnacle. I think there are two important aspects which have changed since then and which should be considered: yes, technology changed, but then also the customer is different.
A great deal of this ‘new’ technology has been introduced to make life easier for all. When is the last time you wrote out a cheque? It’s old hat. It all happens via EFTs, debit and credit cards. You hardly walk around with cash in your pocket and you can buy virtually anything via the internet.
I recently bought some sports equipment from England, and within 4 days it was delivered. Before then I approached my local shop which advised me they had to order it, and it would only be available in two weeks. See how spoilt the customer is?
The customer’s approach has changed. In the past, you as supplier would tell the customer what they should want or do. Now the customer tells the supplier. The roles are sometimes reversed. With so much information on the internet, the customer is well informed before they even walk through the door. They have done their homework and will often have the facts at their fingertips, and so do not need to ask the basic questions in store.
I believe that the marketing arena has entered into a transformation stage. The successful methods used in the past just do not cut it anymore. You have to be different, to place just another advert is not good enough and a waste of money. It must grab the attention of the target market, but then we all know that the target market is picky and demanding.
All these changes can benefit you whether you are trying to get into business or if you want to improve your business, as it allows for a more diverse and competitive environment. But the harsh reality is that you need to stay on top of it all. You have to consider the changing environment and model your business offering accordingly. You have to be aware of change and adapt as it happens so that you lead the way, otherwise your competitors will take advantage of the position.
The question that beckons: to what extent are you on top of your game?
Article written by Gerrie van Biljon – Executive Director at Business Partners Limited.