Markets move faster than ever, because the barriers to entry are at an all-time low. And we’re not talking about small movements – we’re talking about massive, change-the-industry-forever movements, like Uber and AirBnB and Amazon Web Services.
Want to know what it’s like to have your industry change almost overnight? Ask a taxi driver. None of us wants to be the taxi driver of our industry. These days, you can’t afford to be slow, and you can’t afford to be slowed down by false information. False claims – about what should or shouldn’t work, and what you should or shouldn’t do – will cost you dearly.
How do you keep from becoming irrelevant?
By working with the facts. By seeing what’s really going on, watching the three big forces: Customers, competitors, and Google. Thanks to cloud-based tools crunching through big data, even the smallest companies can now keep track of these forces, which is one of the reasons we’re in business. We are determined to bring these truths – these facts – to the small and mid-size companies, to show them what they can know. And, what they should be doing – based on the reality of their situation.
Why is Google so important now? A recent study confirmed that even the majority of business buyers rely on web-based research as part of their buying decision. (The study cites that 94% of them do – and of course, the remaining 6% is statistical noise. We all know we all use Google while researching and comparing products and services.)
But there’s something else. If you’re not making Google happy about your ability to honestly and relevantly please customers with your content, you’re invisible. Google is the Big Gatekeeper of our time.
Why is it so important to watch the competition?
Some of my long-term readers, recently giving us feedback about our site, were concerned that I had turned my focus from “customers” to “competitors.” Nope. Without customers, you have no business. I’m still interviewing customers; in fact, I do that every day for our own company.
But because of the power of Google, and the low barriers to entry, and the access your cloud-savvy competitors have to “what are others doing to succeed” data, new competitors can spring up literally overnight. We’ve seen this with two clients recently – a very quiet, almost-off-the-radar competitor suddenly hires a cloud-savvy internal person and their site’s impact goes from “down there” to “way up here – as high as the leader” within 6 weeks. Six weeks!
What the marketing myths are doing to hurt you
All of us – in all businesses – are up against these realities. But there’s another fly in the ointment: marketing myths. Fads. Agenda-driven experts who push a solution that might – or might not – be right for you. “You have to do social.” “You have to do pay per click.” “You need a new website.” Do you? Really? How do you know? Should you do it even if you don’t know (which is what most people are doing)? You can – but you will be wasting precious time blindly experimenting, while your market is changing under your feet.
Deception is distracting and destructive. Whether it is us fooling ourselves or experts fooling us, the more time we spend assuming and guessing, the less time we spend succeeding. And the more behind we get – in the race to win hearts and minds.
This is why I am doing this work right now. After years as a revenue coach, helping clients learn and act on the truth, and thanks to the powerful new tools available online (and a partner who figured out how to get the big picture), I have a new way to deliver the truth. It is now possible to get a real-time, accurate picture of what is really happening out there – with customers, competitors, and Google. A way for managers to sweep aside the myths and deceptions, and move forward with confidence.
We would all rather be Uber than Yellow Cab. Knowing the truth gives us a fighting chance.