Build and They Will Come – A No-Win Marketing Strategy
This famous quote from the movie "Field of Dreams" may come true in Hollywood but it rarely is the basis of creating a marketing strategy.
I recently met with an entrepreneur who has spent countless hours and a load of cash remodeling a building to open his dream restaurant business. He called me to design a logo for him because that's what his ideas of marketing is – a logo to "get the name out there."
At the end of our meeting I asked him a simple question that rejected in a puzzled look on his face … "Do you have a marketing plan?"
He admitted that he did not have one and said, "I'll do fine. We were the only game in town and I've talked to a lot of people who will do business with me when we open."
How many is a lot? Fifty … a hundred … five hundred? My guess would be around a hundred.
I then asked him if he had a strategy to turn those people into repeat customers who buy on a regular basis. He said, "No, our food and service will be so good that they will come back again."
To which I replied, "What happens when you get an unhappy customer and they tell their friends about their bad experience?" He answers, "Oh well, I guess we'll have to find another customer."
I could have gone on but it was very clear that he does not understand he must play the marketing game.
This is a classic example of the "Dream Product" trap.
The business owner is so in love with his product and is convinced that his dream is so wonderful that people will beat a path to his door without any marketing effort. He's sure that there is a large group of prospects that will purchase solely out of the goodness of their heart over and over again.
They also believe that no competition exists in their market. There's always someone to compete with! It may not be in his industry selling the same product or service, but there is another business that is trying to get their attention. If he does not put forth any effort in attracting them, how will they find his business?
And finally, if he loses a customer and has no marketing system to replace them, how can he sustain his business? Marketing is the only way to ensure that he has a sustainable flow of new prospects entering his doors and buying his products.
Yes, he can build it and they may show up when he opens, but the only thing that will keep them coming back is marketing. And without a marketing plan the chances are pretty good that he is not going to be around very long.
"Build it and they will come" works in a fantasy movie, but in the real world of business it's a marketing strategy that has no chance of winning.