Here is a news flash: The stone industry is in a little slump and this means that every bit of your marketing efforts have to work. I am going to digress from my normal stone tips and offer the following advice to help you sell more stone.
While attending a recent trade show, I walked by several booths and noted that many of them had really fancy and expensive photos, signs and displays. They were very impressive until I stopped and started examining several of them. Of the hundreds of booths that were at this trade show, nearly 25 of them had one thing that stood out: I had no idea what they did, or what service or product they provided. I was examining one booth that had photos and displays, and across the top of the booth was a large banner with the company name that read ABC Enterprises. I looked and I searched, but for the life of me could not figure out what they did. After about 10 solid minutes of looking, I saw a little sign off to the side that said “Historic Stone Restoration.”
This is a common mistake many businesses make. Not only with trade shows, but also when a company is choosing a name, writing ads and in other areas of marketing and advertising. Let’s take a look as some additional examples and then discuss how to effectively solve these problems.
In a trip I took to Atlanta I was driving behind a large tractor trailer and noted a neat looking logo of a tiger. It was really well designed but all it said was TIGER with an 800 number. I had no idea what TIGER was nor did I have a desire to call the number. A lot of thought was put into this logo; however, the ad or sign failed to do several things. First, it didn’t tell me what service or product TIGER sells and it did not create the need to act to call the number. Take a look at your logo or your ads — are they making the same mistake?
I was giving a lecture once and I had a student ask me where they could find a particular product. I happened to have several fliers that described this product. I started handing them out to the class and noted one major mistake — there was no contact information on the flier! There was no phone number, no Web site, no e-mail . . . there was nothing. The flier looked great with full color displaying the product and really doing the product justice. But what good was this if there was no way to find out where to purchase the product. This is a mistake we see over and over again. I even saw this mistake made in a major magazine. There was someone who had just spent thousands of dollars promoting a product and they won’t get even one call, e-mail or contact.
Branding means a lot and it’s what every consulting and marketing guru is promoting, but you have to remember one thing — you are not Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Nike or another such company. Let’s take a look at “Just Do It.” Almost everyone knows this is a slogan for Nike shoes; however, you must remember you are a small business and branding an unforgettable saying like that will take years. Do you know how much money Nike spent bombarding the marketplace with this saying? Can you afford to do the same?
What is more important for the small business is that your product or service — especially your name — reflect what you do or what you sell. For example, let’s say you’re a stone fabricator and your company’s name is Bob Jones Inc. Now, I’m sure Bob is proud of his name and his company and he may be the best fabricator in town, but if I don’t know Bob and I am looking for a granite countertop, I have no idea what Bob does. A better name may be Bob Jones Stone Countertops. At least this name tells the potential client right upfront what Bob does.