It Ain't Always the Ads that Do It
We Americans enjoy intensely romantic dates and wonderfully lavish weddings, don't we? It's the American way – hot and breathless, dripping with anticipation. And we have the world's highest divorce rate. This, too, seems to be the American way.
We value the chasing more than the having, the journey more than the destination, the imagined more than the real. But this isn't just true of Americans; it's true of every person who has ever had the volatile vapors of imagination enflamed by the spark of possibility. Most advertisers take advantage of this attraction to fantasy by promising more in their ads than they can possibly deliver. So how can customers not be disappointed when sad reality smacks them in the face?
Did Sam Walton become the world's most successful retailer because he had the world's best ads? (Hmm.) Was it because he chose a superior name? (Wal-Mart doesn't sell walls? Gosh, now I'm confused.) Was it because he had a beautiful logo? (That medium-blue and white Wal-Mart sign is really snazzy. Wow.) Did Sam Walton become a multibillionaire because Wal-Mart had the world's brightest and best-trained people?
Or was it simply because his stores usually had what we were looking for?
Remember Woolco, the early superstore created by the legendary Woolworth corporation, the folks that invented the dime store concept more than 100 years ago? And K-Mart, the fair-haired child of the 900-pound-gorilla Kresge corporation? These were much better capitalized than Wal-Mart, had infinitely greater buying power, and their store locations and people and advertising were every bit Sam Walton's equal. But today these companies are bankrupt because the stuff on their shelves wasn't quite what we were hoping to find. So we quit going there.
People moan and wail about Wal-Mart bankrupting local retailers. But Wal-Mart isn't doing this all by themselves; it requires the help of millions of shoppers. Why don't these shoppers buy from their local retailers anymore? Because one time too many those local retailers didn't have what the customer was looking for, so now we go straight to Wal-Mart. It's quicker.
Wal-Mart became a juggernaut through superior inventory management; it's the secret of their success. Sam Walton focused his energy on having in stock what customers wanted. “We can order it for you” isn't customer service. It's just another way of saying, “We're out of touch. Please go somewhere else.”
In your ads, you will set the height of the bar that you must jump. And every time you fall short of your customer's expectations you cripple your reputation a little more. How committed is your customer to your store? How many times can you disappoint them before they will be lured away? Will you have what they're looking for?
Wal-Mart didn't become successful by offeringlower prices. They became successful because they kept in stock what people wanted. But this is only 1 of the 4 bulletproof ways to build a company that can break away from the pack. That's right. There are only four business models that can propel you to the heights you seek. The first of these revolves around Inventory Management.
I'll explain the other three to you another time.
Ciao for Niao,
Roy H. Williams
PS – The Magical Worlds curriculum at Wizard Academy has been maturing like fine wine these past 3 years; each class seems to get better and better. This is the big one, taught by the Wizard himself. February is sold out and only a few seats remain for the March 24-26 session. Contact me,Rachel@wizardacademy.org or visit the course description page at wizardacademy.org to reserve your seat. – Rachel Ice