Where in the World Are You?
On a recent trip to the Mayan Riviera, my husband and I signed up for a bus tour, which included a visit to a tequila manufacturer. The place was deep in the jungle in a large hut with no walls. We sloshed to it through torrential rain. Well worth it! The guide could have easily taken his show on the road and the tequila tasting was delectable. We bought several bottles (but well under the amount allowed Mr. Customs Agent) and savored it over many months at home. Well, OK, the almond flavored version was so good that “savor” isn’t really how I’d describe what we did with it, and it only lasted through a few get-togethers. So I wanted more of course. I searched and searched the www, using every name and word string I could find on the bottles. In English and Spanish. I have yet to locate them or see their products for sale at area liquor stores. Even if I have to make a special trip back to Mexico (ah, what a sacrifice), I will score some more of that tequila someday. So they certainly passed my first marketing P. The product rocks!
The Second Marketing P: Place
Location, location, location. Where and how people acquire your products is not separate from your marketing. It is marketing. If I’d been able to order more of that yummy tequila, they would find me to be a nice profit center (but don’t worry…I only drink tequila when I’m in a safe spot with no sharp corners, and with friends who can talk me down). Perhaps it would be cost-prohibitive for them to sell their wares internationally, but I’m guessing there’s a way. If you too have a great product that hopefully leaves people wanting more and wanting to tell their friends about it, then how easy is it?
We all understand the value of certain high-traffic physical locations. Businesses pay high rent to be in the busiest shopping center in town. For any type business, an analysis has to be run on the value of “built-in” traffic and visibility v. the cost of the location. If you are hard to find then it follows that you’ll have to spend more on other types of marketing so that you give people a reason to come seek you out. Your location also impacts your image in multiple ways. If you are selling high end products, your customers will expect appropriate surroundings. If you are selling convenience-stop products, your customers expect easy parking or access. If you do any amount of walk-in business, your neighbors will have a big impact, so you want them to be attracting similar profile folks. We’ve all watched businesses fade away because they picked the dying side of town to open up shop.
It’s also critical to know in advance the signage restrictions for your location. Just because the business next door has a two-hundred foot tall neon spinning strobe planted on the roadside, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to put up anything if they were grandfathered in and the regulations have changed.
If you’re a business like mine, your face-to-face meetings are almost always at your clients’ locations rather than at your own. But that too is a marketing element. In a B2B structure, going to your clients makes it easier for them and gives you the opportunity to be more integrated with their organization.
Your internet business presence is almost exactly the same. Just having a website does not mean that anyone will ever find your virtual location. Where and how you “park” matters a whole lot. And the atmosphere at your e-location is just as important as a physical building. It must be as comfortable and convenient as your target market expects, or they will shop somewhere else. And let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to walk out and go somewhere else when you’re on-line than when you’re out and about. For some, the internet presence is the only location making it even more critical that it’s “prime” real estate. Remember, your website is your business. Don’t use social media blogs and links to lead people out of your store. Always use your external internet tools to lead people back to your business.
The key is to make sure that “where” your products are provided are the best fit for your target market. That may be multiple locations to add to the convenience and possibilities of customers finding you. Shopping and product delivery options are constantly evolving, so stay current on the methods that your current and potential customers prefer.
And if anyone gets a line on that tequila, we’ll pad the furniture and talk more.