Marketing Lessons from the Bigs

I love small businesses, and consider most to be superior service providers to big businesses. But if there’s one area small business really needs to act more like big business it is in their promotion and marketing practices. Car dealers and grocery stores would be a good place to start. Here’s how and why…

HINT: it’s all about working to make your most profit-efficient offerings (read my post here) also your best-selling offerings!


Car Dealers: All the Bells and Whistles

Like a lot of you, I’m a car/truck guy. I love new cars, and all the cool things they put into cars. Motorweek, Counting Cars and other car shows are often on TV in our house.

But are you old enough, like me, to remember roll down windows? And manual transmissions?

Good luck finding a new car these days with either! On most models, they don’t even exist anymore without making a special order. Why do you suppose that is?


Customers Love Upgrades

Rolldown windows and manual trannies are gone from the marketplace due to natural progression that occurs when appealing new features customers like are added to any offering. Sellers introduce them, customers respond well to them and benefit from them, sellers benefit from the extra profit they bring… and everyone wins!

In time, nobody can imagine buying that offering without the extra (pricier and more profitable) options.


Does Your Business Offer Upgrades and Options?

Sometimes small businesses offer bells and whistles upgrades. But often they don’t. So, if your business needs to become profitable or more profitable, I encourage you to visit a local car dealer (or watch Motorweek) and get inspired by all the latest bells and whistles on new cars.

Then return to the office and think about how your business can add more bells and whistles to your offerings. Bells and whistles sell cars, and they can help sell your offerings too! Equally important, bells and whistles generate profit – which is important and often insufficient in most small businesses!

In service and personal touch, continue to act like a small business. You’ll win customers with that small business advantage! But when it comes to packaging your offerings, act and think like big business by adding desirable bells and whistles upgrades to your services. Your business’ profitability and success may depend on it.



Grocery Stores: Prime Positioning

As I discussed in this post, grocery stores and big box stores have “big data” and use it to strategically position their offerings to produce optimal store profitability. Typically, this means the most profit-efficient items get the prime real estate. 

Better small businesses do the same thing. They know what makes them the most profit, most efficiently, and emphasize those offerings in their promotion and marketing practices.


Put Your Best on Display

To help your business profitability, like the grocery stores, give prime display placement to your strong profit generators (whatever that means for your type of business) where your customers will have the easiest time saying yes to them. I’m not into pushy and neither are your customers, so don’t be obnoxious about how you do it… yet, there’s no virtue in concealing them or making them difficult to find either.


Show Tiered Comparisons

Also, note how many service businesses now divide their offerings into tiers – often three levels ranging from basic to mid-range to premium. Mid-range sells best in most situations, so package and position your offerings accordingly.

Similarly, consider the electronics display in the big box store and how tiny those 32” TVs look in relation to the 50”, 70” or 90” versions! Have you ever noticed that as a TV buyer? If so, did it influence your buying decision? Good chance it did toward a larger set, right?

When you line up the features of good, better and best next to each other… don't be surprised if it often biases customer buying choices in favor of better or best. So, if you’d like to or need to sell more “better” and “best” offerings, let customers make that choice… by helping them see what they miss out on at the lower end and gain at the higher end.

Customers will choose what they want, if you give them a choice. And, like with 70” or 90” TVs, often that choice will result in profitable benefits to your business.


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Long live small business! Long live small business owners!