A “perfect” family moves into an upper middle-class neighborhood, invites their neighbours over and proudly shows them the products they’ve bought from high-tech toys and designer clothes to luxury cars.
Perfect couple Steve and Kate Jones, and their gorgeous teen-aged children Jenn and Mick, are all in it together – they’ve signed up as professional product promoters.
Unsuspecting, envious, neigbours buy high-tech golf clubs, high-priced jewels and gourmet food to keep up with the “The Joneses”.
Soon some of their buying behaviour starts to have tragic consequences.
“The Joneses” is a movie that shows the fictive world of stealth marketing gone crazy.
Stealth or undercover marketing involves inducing consumers to buy without realizing they are being marketed to.
Small businesses wouldn’t stoop at using such dubious techniques but with their biggest problem being weak consumer spending they need to find out more about their customers – why they are not buying and, when they do, what kinds of purchases are they making.
Formal market “research” – focus groups, interviews, questionnaires — costs a lot of money. You don’t want to do that if you’ve got a small business.
To get a better handle on what your market wants and needs generate ideas on how to find out your customers’ problems, how they use your products and what keeps them from buying more from your business.
You’ll get a better understanding of the realities your customers face when you get out and listen to them. You may find opportunities to better serve them, which could mean more business for you.
By taking time out to talk to your customers and observe them, you may find that they need associated products and services that you may not have thought about.
Knowing your market, what your customers want and their changing needs, is what all small business people need to know.
Especially when sales are down and could slow some more.
But how often do we assume we know what’s best for our customers, try outguess them and arrogantly decide what they should buy?
To keep in touch with what customers need, want and desire you have to get into their world and understand their problems.