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In a world at a breakneck pace and of mediocre marketing, it is more important than ever to know what you’re doing if you hope to attract, let alone keep, consumers’ attention. Add to that the entire market essentially being mobile and you might not be prepared at all to address your opportunities appropriately.
As things become more convoluted and confusing (add consolidated at the vendor level) in digital, there are just as many opportunities as there were five years ago, if not more. Trust us. The greatest areas of change are (1) more businesses being online, (2) more solutions being provided by manufacturers and turnkey providers, (3) software and automation becoming more rampant and (4) the public having more access via mobile at breathtaking speeds (read: they typically do not consume traditional advertising when mobile).
What hasn’t changed much are the count of progressive businesses, those willing to try new methods and technologies, applying consumer feedback to businesses’ modeling and execution (especially customer service) and the way businesses buy. Research, contrary to much perception, really isn’t part of what executives and leaders facilitate or understand. When is the last time you had a non-vendor evaluate your business’ performance, if ever?
One thing that is creating massive side effects in digital marketing is the silo-type approach to vendorship. At the beginning of the year one of the Big Six manufacturers forced their franchises to choose between three vendors in regard to “management” of their online reputation. This created a real wrinkle for the retailers that (1) didn’t want to use the companies for any/other services, (2) understood that the vendors, outside of using existing automated software, struggle with actually properly setting up, maintaining and responding to the reviews and (3) understood quickly that, many times, just as many issues are created as are handled. Now consider this: What are the benchmarks? What processes have been installed? When does the reputation management process start?
Add to that you absolutely, positively will not succeed in the online reputation management space without complete buy-in at every franchise plus it must be supported throughout every organization, entirely top to bottom.
From websites to search engine optimization, from mobile websites to applications, from search engine marketing to text and live chat, from customer relation management to integrated marketing, you can’t make a decision without facts, capabilities, assessment, communication and absolutely, positively a third party opinion. Why would a business make a decision today, with the potential to inflict damage on their multi-million dollar operation(s) and the future of hundreds of people, based on what another dealer is doing 800-1,800 miles away or what a vendor says when they’ll ask a second, third or even fourth opinion on a treatment or drug?
Are you aware of the side affect of taking the wrong or multiple drugs? Yeah, you’ve heard the advertisements for sinus medication that basically tells you that you can die from taking their product if you simple breathe or walk after ingesting it.
So here it goes: buying a potential vendor’s product (especially if you’re dead set on switching after being “disappointed” with your present one based on doing no more investigation then compared to now) may cause loss of customers, lower service penetration rates, bleeding inventory, loss of margin, decreased customer satisfaction, painful penalties from headquarters, general business seepage, night sweats for the rest of your life, or death.
Go ahead, make decisions without paying attention to the side effects. It will either require hospitalization (aka another vendor change and admonishment toward your 20 Group partners), resuscitation (aka realization that no, they can’t do that, or it’ll be no better) or dizziness (aka having to actually ask someone who knows better that’s NOT on the hook of vendors).
Disclaimer: No doctors were harmed in the making of this blog post
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