Is your small business consistent or is it predictable? Knowing when to be each is an important small business marketing strategy. So what’s the difference?
Consistency is key in small business when it comes to the quality of your products and services, your customer support, and the quality of each and every touch point a customer has with your brand. If you fail in delivering consistency in these three areas, your clients won’t recognize you. They won’t be able to brag about you to their friends, because they’ll be afraid their friend will do business with you and not have the same experience.
Some businesses take consistency so seriously that they make it their main selling point. Take McDonald’s, for example. You can go to McDonalds in Gary, Indiana or Sarasota, Florida and you’ll experience the same, consistent food quality at a consistently low price. From the decor to the cleanliness of the establishment and the way the employees greet you, there will be little variation. In the past when they have tried to deviate from what they are known for, marginal quality, low priced fast food, they’ve failed. Case in point – the Arch Deluxe. McDonalds has done such a great job branding themself as a consistently low priced option for fast food for your family.
Where I often see small business owners failing on consistency is in the quality of their marketing. They go all out in working with a professional graphic designer to develop a great logo that truly positions their business as top notch, but then skimp on their signage, packaging, direct marketing or website photography. They fail to connect the dots for their clients and create a consistent experience throughout all of their marketing and customer touch points.
As a business owner following a boutique business model and charging more for your products and services (and at the same time refusing to compete on price), predictability is often not your friend. You don’t want to lose the ability to surprise and delight your clients.
Do your marketing pieces fail to wow your clients when they receive them because they’ve lost that sizzle factor? Maybe you’ve grown lax in coming up with fresh, new ideas.
Do your clients unwrap your packaging, the same packaging you’ve had the last 5 years, and know exactly what they’ll find? No surprises.
Do you gift your best clients with the same thing each and every year at the same time? They come to expect it from you and aren’t as blown away as they once were.
Has your product mix stayed the same for the last 5 years, without any new products to add to the mix? Same brands? Same styles? Same props?
Do you change out your displays and merchandising each time your clients visit your business or website? Or do they see the same thing each time they walk in your front door, virtual or physical?
Is your brand stale and feeling dated? How long has it been since you created a new marketing piece that took you more than a few hours? When did you introduce a new campaign to your clients last?
Sometimes it feels good to put on an old pair of shoes, but not if I’m a customer looking for a unique experience each and every time I walk through the doors of your small business. If you expect your clients to invest more with you, be consistent where it counts and not predictable!