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Melding The Old With The New for A Great Business Balance

There are two often-stated definitions for describing business management styles. One is referred to as “old school” and the other is “new technology.” There’s a lot to be said for the good old business platform of making appointments, meeting face-to-face, holding luncheons, hand-delivering proposals, shaking hands and building a solid relationship with your customer. People tend to do business with people they know.

However, the old way of running a business is not totally effective in a world of new technology.

Today’s most professional workers are well tuned in to the efficiency of computers, smart phones and the Internet. There’s a lot to be said for garnering information on a potential customer/client before a sales pitch. A smart job seeker will likely turn to the Internet for information on openings and researching a business prior to an interview.

I’m always impressed when the person being interviewed knows our mission statement, company history and details of the job. It shows genuine interest. A follow-up, handwritten card (old school) expressing thanks for the interview often puts that candidate at the top of the list. This approach of combining new technology with old practices is a great recipe for success.

A business looking to accelerate will have a defined business plan and technology-proficient personnel who have the gumption to get out in front of the customer, build business connections and communicate. Never let your guard down for a minute. It’s a fairly well-established fact that businesses will lose one-third of their customers to common factors such as: closed business, move, retirement, death and (heaven forbid) dissatisfaction.

For most local businesses, relying solely on new technology through electronic communication may be missing a large audience segmented by generation groups. There’s a genuine communication gap between Gen Z (born after 1996), Gen Y/Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), and Baby-Boomers (born 1946-1964). And, to successfully market your product or service, you need to break-through-the-clutter with your advertising message to one or more of these generational buying groups.

What’s known as “Generational Marketing” begins with an understanding of the values and attitudes of each demographic group. When writing content to market your product or service, keep in mind that what resonates with a Baby Boomer may not be as appealing for a Millennial or Gen Z. While Baby Boomers respond to content that stresses family values, Millennials connect better with content that stresses the importance of individuality, Gen X values coupons sent through emails, and Gen Z finds messages more appealing that make them feel mature without an obvious agenda.

And, of course, the medium (print ads, TV, radio, website, Facebook, texting, email, etc.) used to deliver your business message needs to be targeted as well. This can be challenging as the universe of digital marketing outlets continues to evolve. Successful businesses must be nimble enough to adjust to ever-changing customer needs.

Whatever the age, stage and company operation, membership in the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce, is the most affordable means of multi-level, affordable business promotion. Marketing our region and every member’s business is our mission. Stop by or give us a call.

Vicki Gardner, Executive Director Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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