Many businesses are failing because they are not delivering on their strapline or stated USP. Marketing materials, straplines and sales pitches are often used to get people through the door, only to then flog them a watered down version of the goods or services.
For example, some businesses claim their ‘advisors’ will discuss your needs and advise you on the best options; but, they don’t. The advisors are salespeople who most certainly will not risk losing a sale by discussing options and giving you ideas to mull over. They want to get a sale there and then, pushing products that make them the most commission, even if the product is not ideal for your needs.
Businesses that claim to find you the best deal by comparing goods and services from a range of companies are often guilty of this too. Bricks-and-mortar travel agents are a good example, many of whom are struggling right now. Their pitch is quite compelling, particularly taking into account my recent post about the nightmare many people have nowadays with online shopping’s excessive choice. “You want a holiday? Great! Just come into our high street store and we’ll handle all the legwork… forget all that online searching and comparison! We’ll handle all that for you, find the holiday of your dreams and save you a fortune!” But they don’t do that. They have a limited number of packages on their books that they have to sell, and some packages will no doubt pay them more commission than others. There will effectively be ‘stock’ that needs clearing. The sales people will have targets they have to meet too, of course. So what the travel agents are actually doing is comparing the package holidays they have on their books, and pushing the ones that make them the most money. That’s fine, but nowadays they need to say that that’s what they are doing.
The problem is that this type of business baloney is becoming dated and doesn’t cut it anymore. Many people, particularly those who are active on the internet, have wisened up to this type of old school marketing. This leaves the businesses involved, targeting consumers who are less tech savvy, people with poor internet access and those with limited computer skills. However, that isn’t a sustainable business model in 2020.
Perhaps the worst scenario (from the business’s POV) is where the board or business owners actually believe they are offering what they say they offer. That’s a big problem. They have convinced themselves that their offering is being delivered, and they live by their strapline. If they are not delivering though, the business often ends up failing, leaving the owners scratching their heads asking “what happened?!”.
The message here is that you need to be clear and transparent with your offering. Don’t try and pull the wool over customers’ (or investors’) eyes. Don’t say you are doing a comparison of all the products/services that are on the market when in fact you are just comparing the limited products/services that are on your books – you’ll just leave customers feeling disappointed in your service. Don’t just repeat the old strapline – update it if necessary. Use straplines to let potential customers know what you actually can and will do for them.
Business owners who want to succeed need to get real about what they are offering, and adjust to this age of social media and increased consumer awareness.