100 years ago a business would survive by location. It served a neighborhood. If successful, it could run an ad in the newspaper and grow beyond the neighborhood.
Then came radio. Radio allowed for the message of the business to spread out beyond the reach of the newspaper. The message was more dynamic.
Along came TV. This was the golden age of advertising. TV could entice us to smoke, to drink and to want cleaner clothes and faster cars.
These forms of advertising had something in common. The control was with the media. The business paid what the media required and advertising spread the word. That’s what advertising is. Advertising spreads the word.
It was more difficult for people to connect than it is today. A long distance call was expensive. No one wrote letters to friends about brands of tires to buy. It took too much energy. That changed and people were able to connect quickly.
The internet started out like any other new medium of communication. A few players controlled the message. Yahoo was one of them. As businesses built their own websites, they also took control of their message.
Look back. In the newspaper age, the ad was placed in the paper and people saw it. A few responded by coming in to the store. If they liked the store, they told a friend. The business grew. Slowly.
Radio moved things along a little faster. TV was faster yet at getting the word around.
The internet can reach millions of people literally at the speed of light.
Here’s the rub.
In the past, the media was novel.
Today, it is the message that must be novel.
Ads that don’t pull and websites that don’t work lack a novel message.
If you have something to offer that people actually want, you cannot keep it secret on the internet. Businesses waste thousands of dollars trying to shout a message no one cares about.
If all you offer is the same old thing, no amount of “marketing” will turn things around.
The first question you must answer about your business is this: What makes us different?
If you cannot answer that, you will never get traction with your marketing.
Forget social media. Forget E-Books. Forget your clever website.
If your business isn’t different, you won’t make it in the sea of competition.
No amount of shouting will help. If you get this right, you will not be able to hide from customers.
Chris Reich, TeachU