Well Dora and her sidekick Boots are not personally seeking me out, however the evil combination of Viacom and Direct TV are doing their best to crush my soul. I have two little girls, a 2 year old and a 8 month old, and we kind of have a bedtime routine on “Team Virgin.” It consists of bath time, Dora the Explorer, maybe a quick book, and then to bed. Granted this flow does not always happen but it is the goal in order to wind everyone down. The linchpin of this process is Dora the Explorer, which is already on much to late in the evening to start. My wife would want me to add that last part because she is extremely passionate about it how late it comes on. Even I have trouble staying awake through the show although I try distract myself by reading a book at the same time. But I digress, so in the infinite wisdom of big business and big profits, Viacom and Direct TV have decided to renegotiate their contract and temporarily remove viewer access to Nickelodeon and several other channels. Forsooth (my colleague said that I would never be able use that word in a blog, so boom!), corporate tactics like this are the reason that I love small business where the consensus is to put customers first in decision making.
I have read several marketing books lately (Guerrilla Marketing, Purple Cow, Get Clients Now!) and this corporate tactic of not listening to customers and using negative behavior to increase profits runs against the grain of what we small business advocates adhere. As in the words of Seth Godin, this is not remarkable service and it does not create a service valuable to the customer. Although both sides tell a story of rising costs on Viacom’s end and Direct TV’s claims it is looking out for the customer’s per month price. Most small businesses can’t use traditional marketing techniques such as TV, radio, or magazine ads because the cost is prohibitive and not cost effective. So how can they compete with the behemoths of business? Well, Jay Conrad Livenson points out that a small business must market primarily to existing customers (cheaper than adding additional customers). What does that mean? Overall the concept is to provide a product or service of value to the customer so that they are better off from their point of view.
Here are a some great ideas that he presents in Guerrilla Marketing:
- Follow-up with customers after the service is performed
- Surpass customer expectations
- Gain repeat business from existing customers
- Earn referral business through great service
- Enlarge the size of your transactions with existing customers