Convenience and accessibility. The internet has forever changed the way businesses connect with their customers and present themselves to the world. A modern consumer within seconds can have a list of options in the palm of their hand. This instant connection of consumer and businesses has changed the landscape of marketing forever, with this change simply being a business is not enough.
Branding and it's Importance
A company's brand is its identity. Gone are the days where consumers went to the hardware store because it's the hardware store. Before the average Joe considers driving to a store they subconsciously consider who they've heard of and where they'll find the best deal. If they don't already have an answer to those questions the answer is a few taps away. Within seconds the average consumer has access to every local businesses' catalog, location, pricing, and branding.
This is where marketing counts. Not necessarily marketing to reach those who don't know about a business but marketing that shows that a business is legitimate and is the best choice among all of their competitors. If a company doesn't have good branding, a clear concise message of what they provide, they are easily swiped past. This negative impression matters. This can cause a person who might have considered shopping at a business to take their money elsewhere, and never look back.
Why Relevancy is Relevant
There is a reason why large chain companies that drain millions into marketing consistently out perform local businesses. They are already on the consumers minds before a consumer even begins to search for where to spend their money. They flood social media with ads so they are the clear and obvious choice whenever a purchase is made. These companies realize what some local businesses miss, marketing starts and ends with branding and clarity.
The same tactics used by large companies to appear relevant to the average consumer can and should be used by local businesses. The same tactics used to compete with their many competitors should be used by local businesses. With the internet and social media there is a truly level playing field. It's a competition to be relevant and convenient. The identity of a local business, when embraced, is already more relevant than big name companies, business owners are part of the community, they're your neighbors, your kid's soccer coach, they go to your church etc. The ability to see and touch a product and actually know who you're buying it from has value in its own right, but just being available and having a product does not make a company stand out as the best option.
Every business must prove they are the best option, word of mouth only goes so far and with one swipe a business can be considered irrelevant and outdated.