“TI am in the final stages of launching a small grocery in a small but growing out-of-town community. The marketing consultant I’m working with is encouraging me to open with a bang. He’s designed an elaborate ad campaign and is cooking up ideas for the grand opening including special promotions and cooking demos. Initially I was excited by his ideas but now I’m having second thoughts. I don’t live in a big city like New York and while people here don’t live in a cave cut off from the rest of the world they definitely keep things simpler.
I’m wondering if all the hype won’t turn people off. Will people like my marketer’s big-city ideas? It’s so important for a business to create a homey personal feeling between customers and owners so I’m worried that people might feel that I’m introducing a level of unwelcomed gashmiyus into the community. In the end I’m concerned that my marketer’s approach will turn off more customers than I can afford to lose.
Imagine a cancer center hosting a scotch and cigar event. That’s the wrong story! The first thing you need to determine is whether the marketing campaign you’re describing tells the story of your business. Does it resonate with your target customers? Does it represent you and your brand?
You haven’t presented any reason to go overboard with the campaign. What kind of results is your consultant predicting? What would his ideas generate in sales and other value?
Allow me to share an insider’s secret in our industry. Sometimes marketing professionals suggest campaigns they want to run — not ones their clients need. It can come from an artistic drive financial motivation or a wish to build a reputation. I’m not suggesting anything untoward about your consultant but I am advising you to tread carefully.
I recently had a client in a similar predicament. He opened a business in a place where there were skeptics about the appropriateness of that kind business in the community. We decided to spread the grand opening budget over a few months and have several small events promotions and campaigns. This proved to be an excellent solution; we kept the momentum going without going overboard with a massive grand opening. Perhaps this approach is one you can take.
From a marketing perspective your concern about bringing something new to your community may or may not be valid. I cannot know without knowing more details. However the world is a changing place; many businesses regret not doing something out of fear of what people might say.
Your job as a business owner is to exceed expectations. Steve Jobs once said: “The customer never knows what they want until we show them.” You have an opportunity to define the expectations for your audience.
Maintain a close relationship with your customers and get to know them personally. Your intentions and motivations will come through more clearly than any marketing campaign. You can also try sponsoring or partnering with a local organization which would show that you care about the welfare of the community. Don’t do something you’re uncomfortable with and trust your gut feeling.
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