Businesses on the brink have to change or die and the change has to be as drastic as selling and introducing a new product or service. Like beer in a coffee house.
Starbucks introduced beer in locations across the U.S. in May.
Like the coffee or hate it, Starbucks business model is based on changing to find it new consumers. The beer and wine has been embraced by its existing consumers.
Monday, June 13, Starbucks opened its fourth beer and wine location in Portland. There are three Starbucks serving alcohol in Seattle.
Starbucks primary customer base comes into locations before 2 p.m. Adding beer and wine to its menu will get traffic in the door after its morning rush and lunch crowd subside.
Starbucks capitalized on marketing its brand the remaining hours in the day as its new window of opportunity. It maximized the coffee properties to launch the beer and wine in its strongest market near its home base.
Stuck in the Past
Blockbuster is one business that didn’t change even though its competition knew where Blockbuster clients wanted to go. Experts say Blockbuster failed and went bankrupt due to an unwillingness to transition to an e-commerce and digital-based marketing platform. The movie store relied too heavily on brick and mortar locations, ignoring the emerging online marketplace.
Risk is part of business. Making the first move can be more secure with the right tools. Solid research takes the questions out of the equation.
Will You Do What Your Competitors Won’t?
Blockbuster competitors NetFlix and $1 Redbox capitalized on Blockbuster’s digital vulnerability by reaching and providing products and services to the vast online consumer shopping world.
The competition catered to clients looking for online movie reservations, purchases, downloads, automated movie queues, libraries, sales and specials.
First to Commit to E-commerce
Blockbuster clients clicked over to the competition NetFlix and Redbox quickly. There was no waiting or long lines as in Blockbuster. The Blockbuster client reward system was no longer needed because clients paid low prices from the start. Clients had 24-hour access to pick movies, wait for them to arrive in the mail or go around the corner to a Red Box for pickup and return.
Make It Easier and Offer Options
Flexible hours, shopping from home, nearby neighborhood boxes or mailings allow customers to receive and return movies simply and quickly.
Online convenience, choice and cost made it easy for consumers to switch from Blockbuster Are you online or too stubborn to market to your consumers?
Do the Research
Rule No. 1 in marketing: You are not your target.
No matter what you know about your brand, feel about your brand, think you are like other consumers, you are not the target. Your opinion doesn’t count. Ever. You’re too close to it.
Only research done by experts using qualitative and quantitative methods can determine accurate and realistic consumer target groups.
“If I think about 1,000 start-ups, maybe 10 will be around in 10 years,” said Steve Tennant, a consultant, who advises Silicon Valley start-ups. “More than 900 are situations where people have not done nearly enough homework to see if there’s an important customer problem and if they’re actually solving that problem better than everybody else.”
If you’re in business and flailing in the economy then turn to experts for direction. You’re not doing well on your own, admit it and make the change or die. Not trying can lead to bankruptcy as seen in even the largest businesses.
Bankrupt Businesses vs. Successful Competitors
CompUSA Staples, Office Depot, Office Max
Circuit City Radio Shack, Best Buy, HH Gregg
Linens ’N Things Bed, Bath & Beyond
Borders Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble
Mervyns Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Walmart