If they jumped off a bridge would you?

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

By Matt Plapp

Remember as a kid when your mom asked the question “would you jump off a bridge if your friends did it?”  You usually got this when you did something stupid that you typically would not have done had you thought about your decision first.
Well this is no different in running your business.  I just returned from a client’s trade show that reminded me of this scenario the entire time I was there.  The show is the Fall Market in High Point North Carolina.  It’s the largest furniture show in the world (but apparently not judged on sales or attendance).  This show has been going on  for many years and approx 10 years ago resulted in HUGE sales figures for furniture manufacturers who were on-site.  This event happens twice per year for 1 week each time.  The floor space sold in this show is 1.1 million square feet.  This show is gigantic when it comes to manufacturers and vendors displaying their product, BUT it’s missing 1 key element…BUYERS!
I spent half the show exploring the show during the “Peak Time” and no matter where I went there were not customers.  At one point I was leaving the main building where I was told everyone would be during the middle of the day and as I was leaving I attempted to be polite and hold the door for anyone behind me.  When I turned to look, there was NO ONE behind me.  I was amazed.  At this point I stopped and looked and at a show which has THOUSANDS of companies displaying there were less than 100 people at the #1 location of the show at 3pm on a Saturday!
What does this mean for you?  I’m talking about companies that continue to market their businesses where the ROI doesn’t exist.  This show is not working.  The answer to why most companies display there is pretty simple, they are afraid of not being there and customers seeing their competitors.  FEAR is the easiest way to sell or convince someone to buy something.  My question is “What customers are you afraid to miss?”  Sometimes you have to take a risk and do something different.  You need to NOT jump off the bridge OVER and OVER and OVER with your friends.  You need to step outside of your comfort zone and market your business different.  You need to build a rope ladder and climb down the bridge.  Ask yourself this question, are you doing something in your business that you know is “jumping off the bridge” and if so what are you doing to change it.  DO IT TODAY!  Make a tough decision and outsmart your competitors.  Be the first, not to the last to jump!
Needless to say I’m looking forward to my next few meetings with my client.  I know we can do something that will get the attention of the customers who DON’T visit this show anymore and we can stop “jumping off the bridge.”

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com

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