Towards the end of the year I wrote something about company promotions as regards to the festive season. The story had been inspired by the sight of an Indian supermarket that had been decorated to reflect the festive period of Christmas and New Year’s Day long before December had arrived.
I have felt compelled to return to this topic after noticing that many business entities in Rwanda are quite lukewarm when it comes to responding to seasons and events. For many, every day is just the same and so they treat their operations as though they were working for the public service sector. To whom it may concern.
Recently schools all over the country reopened for the first term of the academic year. However it was rare to find a place with a back to school promotion aimed at tapping into the obvious demand for school related products at that time. And I am not just talking about the guys who are dealing in stationery and other scholastic materials. It is up to you as a business owner to see what you can sell to a parent who is try to take a child back to school.
You don’t even have to wait for the demand side of things, as one on the supply side; you should be innovative and proactive. If you have been following the growth of the US tech giant, Apple (iPhones, iMacs, iPods, iPads and Macbooks) as a company and how Steve Jobs made it such a much sought after brand will tell you that Jobs believed that it was not the job of the customer to think of what he/she wants.
However, he argued that the supplier should be innovative enough to come up with products that are irresistible to the client. Just the other day I was reading in the news that Chinese were fighting to buy the latest iPhone 4s. And yet it is not a cheap gadget.
So in the same spirit, business owners need to think for their clients and not sit back and wait for customer suggestions of opinion pieces in the newspapers. Part of this innovation process includes keeping an eye on the calendar and proactively coming up with promotions or business strategies aligned to the same.
For example if you own a supermarket and then it gets to a time when students are returning to school, why not change the set up and put scholastic materials at the front aisles or somewhere more visible. If it is time for Valentine’s Day, do not wait for the last day before stocking up on love-themed cards and gift items. Put them where they can be seen and even reduce the prices. In short, pull the customers in that direction.
If you are not ready to be innovative and proactive then your competitor may not be as lazy as you are. And you will feel this when it is time to balance your financial accounting books.
Some are waiting for stiff competition before waking up and realising the need to innovate or hire innovative marketers and managers. They are locked up in their comfort zones doing everything the same way they did it last year. It is time to look at the calendar and plan ahead. Thank me later.