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What to expect, how to adapt to the New Economy

Brad Lloyd -- Casual Living, September 10, 2010

Brad LloydThe old economy is shattered and gone forever. It's never coming back as it was.
     While some time-honored, reliable business strategies and skills continue to have their place, they must be combined with new, more creative and agile thinking and more tough-minded and disciplined methods in sync with the realities of the new economy and the demands of its consumers and clients.
     Let me briefly describe the emerging new economy as it directly affects our industry.
     1) All the power has returned to the customer and she knows she has it.
     2) The customer's tolerance for anything ordinary - whether products, services, expertise, experiences, the commonplace and certainly for incompetence - is zero.
     3) Money will be spent more judiciously, so it will be attracted only to businesses offering much more appealing and complete value propositions, with superior reputations, unique positioning, exceptionally effective marketing, and outstanding customer service before, during and after the sale.
     4) A more cautious consumer, striving to be sensible and responsible, will be judging you and trying to determine if your company is worthy of her trust before she buys. You will be under great scrutiny.
     5) You must genuinely earn your right to your customer's interest and support by providing well-matched, specialized, even customized product, service and value propositions.
     People now have the opportunity, power and awareness to demand what is specifically for them, matched to their needs, interest and desires. They are not going to go on buying sprees, buying whatever is in your wagon that you want to sell.
Brad Lloyd, owner of Brad Lloyd & Co. Ltd., has more than 20 years of experience as a retailer and sales representative for some of the top manufacturers in the casual industry. He is sharing techniques he learned from months of research on marketing your business in the 21st century and how it can apply to this industry.
     New economy customers will not be as tight-fisted as the recession customers, but they will be extremely demanding. As a result, business success in the new economy will be earned, not given. Businesses must be better. Businesspeople must be much better.
     The new economy will be the great divider between the successful and unsuccessful. More change, more challenge to the old ways, more disruption, and yes, even more crisis, is likely to occur more often at a faster pace than ever before.
     The Internet removed all geographical boundaries from business, and that is good news for the businesses that understand how to monopolize what this media can do positively for their marketing.
     Having a strong presence on the Internet is no longer a luxury for the business owner but a necessity. Either you learn to market online or you fall behind your competitors. It's as simple as that.
     The key to growth for small business relies heavily (if not implicitly) on computers and the Internet. Is technology benefiting your shopping experiences?
     To compete in this age and to make your business grow, you need a new method to bring in more customers and prospects.
     Here's an important point: The market breakthroughs happen by delivering a "wow" customer experience.
     Master the moment and execute the art of follow-up marketing. The "old way" of doing things no longer works.
     This is one of the great marketing truths: People buy when they are ready to buy, not before. People like to buy, but they don't like to be sold. People buy from those they like and trust.
     Step back a moment to see your business the way your customers view your business. Is doing business with your company easy, appealing and fun? Tell the reasons why.
      How well does your company paint the picture in your customer's mind that diminishes your competition totally out of their mind?
     How effectively is your business moving its focus from hunting to harvesting during the most extreme economic slowdown of your life?
     Is your unique selling position enough to differentiate your products in the consumer's mind to get you out of the dreaded commodity business?
     You must educate your way out of business problems. You can't win simply by cutting prices.
     If you are serious about prospering, you should start by reading the following two books by Dan S. Kennedy: No BS Business Success in the New Economy and No BS Sales Success in the News Economy.
     You'll be glad you did.

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