This is when I realized it is a whole new level of marketing for any type of business out there, from the local business to the large national corporation.
The lessons we learned included, but were not limited to:
What our clients would like to see available on the marketplace,
Our competitor’s image and how they communicate with their clients,
Our place in the Industry,
and, Potential lucrative alliances with other industry players.
What our clients would like to see in the marketplace:
We had many people approach us about problems they currently face working with current suppliers in our Online industry. We were able to understand from our potential client’s eyes how they see our industry, and the potential upside value they see in our services, and where they are currently being short served.
They also expressed growing concerns of the dynamics of our Industry and how they do not understand all cost’s to do business in our marketplace but understand there is large upside value. This communication allowed us to realize the expanse of market opportunity beyond the services we currently offer. It also allowed us to see what services we can package and in particular how to package them to give our clients this wanted value.
Our competitor’s image and how they communicate with their clients:
For the first time we were able to see eye to eye with our competitor’s and how they present themselves to the public eye with the display at their booth space (or lack there of). How a company decided to setup their displays spoke a lot about them because at this point it became their satellite office to landing business, communicating with their clients, and communicating with their industry.
For the first time I understood how market leaders could become yesterday’s leaders. This could happen many ways, but mainly through lack of communication of not being there to field your current clients’ concerns. This could have happened with many types of companies there from equipment suppliers, your lab guys, to technology suppliers. If your provider wasn’t there to field your concerns you just as easily went to their competitor who was there to field your concerns.
The week before presenting at this event, I went to the boat show in Fort Lauderdale and spoke to some exhibitor’s who told me “It’s not being at the show that gets your client’s attention, but your lack of presence there.” Well I finally understood it and saw it first hand. The importance of a credible presence at the show spoke volumes about your regard for your current client base and concern to keep your company innovative.
This relates to many marketplaces, it would be like Intel figuring they have a complete upper-hand in the semi-conductor industry so they decide to slack on their presence at the upcoming computer expo. They setup their table and let their computer’s do the talking, where AMD has their engineers on the floor fielding concerns. Well who will be the one picking up the contracts in the future? Or, at least looked to as an option for a solution? Pretty cool the way business works similar to war, it’s as if we can really see how an early troop pull-out may affect an extended war effort. The reaction to a lack of presence will almost have twice the back-lash of not being there at all.
Our place in the industry:
Well at this event there were at least four companies that offered similar services/products as us. Well considering we knew at least one of them would be there we spent a good amount of money and time focused on educating the marketplace as to what services we had to offer. At the end of the day in our commoditized economic environment we face two types of shoppers those concerned with price and those concerned with value (service). We are more oriented on the value (service) portion of the environment because we understand our potential clients are not necessarily operating a price oriented business. Their clients expect value (service) which is what they sell, and our clients expect value (service) from those they do business with.
Our position in the industry is very niche oriented and focused at helping our client’s increase conversion rates and exposure. We realized at the meeting there is a solid fit for us within the cosmetic dental industry in helping higher end practices market their value to clients through the power of the Internet as the Yellow Pages becomes increasingly obsolete.
Potential lucrative alliances with other industry players:
We found that many other companies in the industry could increase their sales if we helped their end users increase sales. This is where synergies/alliances kick-in and companies stand to gain value from working with one another. In all types of business there is always an opportunity for a beneficial partnership, examples: a cosmetic dentist referring to a cosmetic surgeon, McDonalds sending their customers to Blockbuster for a rental special, to a corporate attorney referring out to an intellectual property attorney. Wow talk about varying business goals, huh? But at the end of the day they all want to be the provider providing the solution someone wanted. This creates a happy person and the likelihood they will return to you when they need the service you provide.
So now you’re wondering What does all this mean to my business?
The information provided can fit into any field of work and the importance to understanding your clients and their needs. Stop asking yourself what people want and get out there and find out. Whether it means taking a booth at a local mall expo, or a convention aimed at your particular business field. Yes, the quality of traffic will differ depending on the event you choose but you will have the chance at traffic. Survey these people and find out what they want and not what you want to sell them. It will help you make an increasingly compelling pitch and at the end of the day help your close.
Best of luck in your future business endeavors. And, Carpe Diem.