The inspiration for this blog post came while I was pondering the situation of a friend we'll call Bob. He owns a fairly large general store (Bob's Store) in a fairly small town selling houseware, clothing, groceries, medical supplies, home goods, and a little bit of hardware, sporting goods, etc. Although Bob's Store is one of the nicest in town, the business isn't doing that well. Why? He's not really sure.
Unrelated, there's a question I've been asking people for a while now: what new business would you like to see in your small town? The answers have been interesting but the one I hear most is 'Costco'. The reasons vary but "good prices" and "good selection" are pretty common.
This morning these ideas overlapped and it dawned on me: the reason Bob's Store isn't doing well is because of poor marketing. Bob's Store is a small town version of Costco, but people don't see it that way. They see it as a small town Kmart, a place that is uncool and failing. Perception is reality.
Better marketing would solve Bob's problem. A few inexpensive changes in product, pricing, promotion, and placement (The 4 P's of Marketing) could reposition Bob's store as a small town Costco and I firmly believe this would make a five or six figure difference in his bottom line every year - a very attractive risk/reward imo. Bob, if you're reading this, let's talk.