Last week, in this column, I shared with you how your attitude determines your altitude. How far you can soar above storms or succeed against daunting odds, especially in a depressed economy, is predicated on your response to problems.
Today, I shall discuss a few tips on the marketing of products and services in a harsh economic environment, such as ours.
One sign of a troubled economy is declining sales. This invariably leads to retrenchment of workers or what we now call downsizing. Massive job losses have dire implications for the economy.
Poor sales could be triggered by bad government policies, economic downturn, unemployment and a number of other issues. Our concern here is how a producer of goods and services can out-sell the competitors, as a way of remaining in business. Considering that, on the average, every product has a short shelf life, some say between six months and a year, once a new product hits the market it is already at the mercy of competitors, who are desperate to displace it. These fierce rivals will stop at nothing until they dethrone the No. 1 product. If you are facing declining sales, don’t close shop. You can read the suggestions listed below.
Here are some tips on how to stay on top of the competition in any economic environment:
You must produce quality products or services, consistently at competitive prices to keep the predators at bay. This must be backed with aggressive marketing, sales promotion, advertising and sponsorship.
You can explore new markets continuously to expand distribution and market penetration. This will enable you achieve your goal of lower prices through economy of scale.
Explore marketing tools on the Internet to globalise your brand and open up foreign markets. You must have a strong online presence to keep your product firmly in the purview of the global village.
Employ new technology to produce quality, cheap and better goods/services. Today’s customer is hard to please. They are constantly on the go. And their loyalty to a brand can’t be taken for granted.
Invest in research and development to improve your product/services. This could be outsourced, if your outfit is too small to fund the expenses. Constant innovation is the name of the game. You must keep improving your product or you decline.
Never undermine the relevance of market research. Many producers of successful products ignore this vital resource at their peril. There is no place for complacency in today’s business jungle.
You need to motivate your staff and constantly train and retrain them to keep them abreast of new technologies and new skills. To keep quality staff, you need to offer generous welfare package to fend off poachers. Charity begins at home, so you too must train and retrain yourself to update your skills.
Prepare for shock: New technology, unexpected government policy, better or cheaper product, cultural factors or change in taste or fashion could threaten your product/services. You must have a rapid response squad that could speedily rise to the challenge to keep you in business.
Stand out: You must be unique to stay apart from the crowd. There must be a unique selling point that marks you out of the mixed multitude. This is what gives you the identity that guarantees the loyalty of your customers.
Now, this may be hard to accept. If you find a better manager than yourself, even if you’re the founder, hire him and let him run the company. Sometimes, your best may not be enough to sustain the level of success needed to stay ahead of the competition. If you find yourself in this position, step down for the new whiz kid on the block. It is in your own interest.
Folks, let me stop here, till next week when we deal with NICHE market. Stay motivated!
•Ladi Ayodedeji is an author, conference speaker/pastor and life coach. He can be reached at [email protected] and 09059243004 (SMS only).