DISCLAIMER: To be fair, you can substitute Millennial for any other generation that came before or will follow.
I recently attended a wedding that had a lot of 20 and 30 somethings as guest. And I couldn’t help but notice the effort they put in to be “an individual” and how miserably they failed. Despite their efforts, each individual remarkably looked and acted like everyone else.
It’s kind of like the ads that so many small and medium-sized business pay good money for.
One after another they emphasize the # of years they’ve been in business (as if that’s even guarantee of anything other than old age). And just in case that’s not enough, they tell you they have “great customer service”. NOTE: It’s not the best. It’s apparently just great (average like everyone else).
When every business starts to look like the same, your customers struggle to tell you apart from all the others.
So they turn to the only thing we give them to evaluate us from the competition: PRICE.
And that’s a problem!
You see, people’s attitudes toward money are very strongly connected to their values, their self image, and their emotions. So when price is the only thing customers have to distinguish your business from another, it becomes make it the dominant reason they choose to buy from you or not.
So begins the never ending story of price competition which leads to lower revenue, lower margin, and lower profits. Eventually, the smaller players go out of business because they just can’t compete.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
At this point the natural tendency is to “give up on marketing because it doesn’t work”.
The logic goes something like this:
“We tried [blank] and it didn’t work”
“We did [blank] and got zero sales”
“We’ve tried everything and nothing works” and then in total frustration…
“Most of our business comes from referrals anyway”.
For the record, I don’t think they actually believe that last bit. But it helps the business owners and mangers avoid taking responsibility.
But as your revenue continues to decline or stagnate, that’s no consolation.
Unless you really understand what’s driving the changes in your revenue, even growing revenue can mean fewer customers, and eventually that leads to fewer referrals and lower profits.