Online Marketing – Shape Up Or Ship Out!

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

Ben Franklin may not have been an entrepreneur by trade, but his words echo today more than ever before. This is the fastest-changing communications and technology landscape we’ve ever been in. Twenty years ago, you probably didn’t have an email address, and now it’s hard to imagine life (or your business) without email. Ten years ago,  Facebook didn’t exist, and now one-and-a-quarter billion people and millions of businesses use it to communicate.

Today’s digital world has undoubtedly transformed the way that businesses work. Most would say that the technological age in which we live has boosted industries, opened doors and expanded empires. The opportunities and the risks are huge. Brands that reach customers with the right experiences and information at the right moment will win a larger share of growth and outperform competitors. Brands that don’t keep pace with their customers’ digital behaviour and preferences will fall behind. Companies that provide frustrating or substandard online experiences may tarnish their brands and destroy value.

The old maxim, ‘You snooze, you lose’ has never been more true than it is now and should a company fail to keep up with today’s fast paced culture, chances are that it will result in their demise. Keeping up with online trends is absolutely vital to succeed in today’s business world.
You can choose to change with the times, take advantage of new opportunities in your industry and grow your business. Or you can fight the changes, refuse to adapt, and watch your business likely perish.

The reality of sitting back and not growing digitally can be seen through the failure of companies such as Woolworths and Blockbuster.

Woolworths, the historic high street name, opened its first store in Liverpool in 1909. The business became a household name in Britain but inevitable began to experience increasing pressure in it’s final years as customers turned to supermarkets or the internet to gain better value for money.

Millions of shoppers now insist on interacting with brands digitally, using their computers, tablets and phones before they decide what to buy, where to buy it or how much they’re willing to pay. Woolworths simply didn’t offer the same retail opportunities or customer interaction online as it’s competition and thus, lost it’s customers. People cite convenience and speed as key reasons to make purchases online. Remove these factors and you will lose the customer.

So, the moral of the story is, make sure that your online retail sphere is up to scratch, keep your customer’s happy and your business should thrive, right? In most cases, yes, however, in the case of Blockbuster’s demise, things were slightly trickier. The evolution of the digital age wasn’t good news for video/DVD retailer. Unlike many other high street chains which have struggled or even closed completely over the last few years, Blockbuster’s end is one many could predict with ease. The downfall of Blockbuster arguably began over a decade ago with the rise of the Netflix DVD-by-mail service, closely followed by the introduction of a subscription service that streams video over high-speed internet connections. Netflix’s provision of media via streaming offered a level of convenience to consumers that Blockbuster could not possibly equal.

Netflix however cannot be totally to blame for the demise of Blockbuster. The company is merely part of a technological and consumer transformation that gradually but inevitably undermined Blockbuster as a viable business. It is the new digital era that has dealt the critical blow to Blockbuster, reshaping the film and DVD industry forever in a way and speed that Blockbuster could not adapt to. The nature of Blockbuster, as a film and video game rental store always made it more vulnerable to changes in technology and shopping habits, they should’ve  been more prepared and better equipped to restructure their business model accordingly.

The vast development of the internet as a more convenient avenue for people to rent and purchase films and television programs has totally removed the need for stores such Blockbuster. Why would somebody go to the trouble of driving to a shop to make a purchase when it can be done easier, quicker and cheaper from their sofa? The online world drives a large amount of sales today and is a trend that will almost certainly continue. Blockbuster was simply overtaken by a move towards streaming and downloading videos online. It failed to keep up and compete with the likes of Netflix, iTunes and Lovefilm and thus did not adapt to the change in consumer requirements. This failure to focus on the customer experience, retaining a business format that should’ve been left in the 90’s meant that Blockbuster now belongs to a different era of commerce, one that has been undone by not only technological but commercial change, leaving the company with no place in today’s world and nowhere to go.

Growing businesses face a range of daily challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach and that’s where the businesses featured above fell down, they didn’t change their business model to keep up with the growing online retail sphere and as a result, were overtaken by their competitors. These avoidable mistakes destroyed their great businesses.

Keeping up with the changing industry and with your target market is imperative today. You need to make sure that your online presence is paramount to your marketing plan and that you remain at the forefront of your customer’s mind – if you aren’t there, your competitor will be and you will lose business.

We can help with the entire online marketing sphere; website production and maintenance, social media, content writing, blogs, vlogs, advertising, branding and proof reading. To discuss your marketing plan today, just give the office a call 01795 430030 or email: