Time moves on, and a generation later the tooth fairy bell was again often called in to action. So it was that a most disgruntled 5 1/2 year old pink pyjama clad daughter was tugging at my sleeping head around 07:00 one Sunday morning. The tooth fairy had sold her short! The promised coin had not materialised, instead, in its place, was one unfamiliar to her and in the twilight also to me. A quick thinking answer came to mind, and so it was that my daughter believed the tooth fairy for a number of years to be French, going about leaving shiny French francs in exchange for the gift of a tooth. Alors et sacre bleu!
If asked for one word or phrase to describe the essence of the near 30 years between the two toothy events, I would say speed or more comprehensively, speed of information. Today not only is everything available instantly, but the competition to personalise big data for the individual is a race being run against the 24 hour clock on six continents. There within lies the key phrase though, personalise.
I have had the pleasure to work for and alongside a number of great strategic thinkers and salespeople. People of vision, drive and determination. Rarely have any of them been what could even be remotely called patient in either their business or social lives. It was therefore quite a surprise to find myself sitting down with a young entrepreneur recently who had spent two years developing his product, refining it according to the feedback received in his considerable research and after much care with his branding and presentation to hear him bemoan his lack of customer uptake. A year after launch business was slow, new customer acquisition not great and an imminent fear of failure had replaced the contagious enthusiasm of a new business’s racing heart.
Quite simply the product was still an unknown quantity. Despite a good looking website, a facebook full of likes, more tweets than a political party convention and more instagrams than an old peoples home (sorry, my mistake, that’s instagrans) potential buyers of what is a B2B product simply didn’t know about it. Sitting back, letting the web bring buyers and success wasn’t working.
The solution? Back to the future. People dealing with people. How much more personal could big data be? Within 8 weeks our international network secured meetings for our entrepreneur with potential distributors in Germany, Ireland and France. In person, galvanised by the opportunities in front of him he negotiated the deals have now given him a platform for success. People speaking to other people in the local business language and business culture to introduce an opportunity.
To have a great product or service isn’t enough today. The cyber messages too overwhelming to sort the great from the guff. Even Apple has to connect with people to market their products, ultimately every buying decision whether it is at corporate or personal level is still made by a person.
The myth that if you have a good product the customers will come find you is just that, a myth, right up there with the toll of the tooth fairy bell. If you want to build your business make sure the building blocks you construct it with are people, not mythological creatures.