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Empty Nest Syndrome

I recently read a very interesting piece of research that highlighted how at least 30,000 businesses in Ireland should be online but are not. This same research suggested that 70% of Irish consumers fail to find what they’re looking for online in Ireland, compared to just 10% in our nearest neighbour, the UK. Obviously, this has implications for companies like ourselves, in that we still have a massive pool of people to take online (happy days!) Our take is simple: if you’re in business you need a website, simple as that. It’s a salesperson who never gets sick and never has an off-day, who’s there 24/7 to communicate with your customers, having a web presence is a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned.

However, the other side of it, is the reality that there is a significant proportion of Irish businesses operating outside the Internet so where does that leave our B2B strategies?

There is evidence that a lot of companies are re-directing marketing budget from traditional media to online which is fine if your customers are in this space, but what if they’re not? If they’re not then your messages are the equivalent of that proverbial tree in the forest falling and not making a sound!

To me the message is clear, traditional marketing should not be abandoned in favour of online. If you’re not sure where your customer buys, you need to find out because that’s where your presence needs to be. So, if your clients are still making deals on the golf course or signing off jobs after the local networking session then your well-crafted online messages are somewhat wasted.

For me it always comes back to two things; knowing your customer, his/her habits and values and integrating your marketing across all channels. To throw out another cliche never put all your eggs in one basket, unless you’re 100% that basket is bullet-proof!

Passion for Creative is a full service marketing agency based in Wateford. We provide a full range of services, from graphic design to training, from copywriting to advertising, from strategy to mentoring, and from from web design to branding. We help businesses to get more customers and to make the most of the customers that they have. Dare to be different and do it with Passion

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  • Greg,
    I won’t call this an analogy because I think you are absolutely correct, we can learn so much from children, and you have eloquently related your child’s questions to how we interact with our businesses.
    A great post, the only problem now is that when your child is 14, he will realise the benefits you have received from him, and look for more than a packet of buttons. And its in print here, forever 😉

  • Anonymous

    Ahh rats…Great point. I must have been “…Away with the birds?” when I wrote that. Check out Elaine’s brilliant post here –

  • Something that kids should understand by time they are 14, it will not just help them when they are old like us, but also help in high school and college.

  • Anonymous

    There should be a four-year-old on the board of every company. Nice one Greg!

  • Greg, you are quickly becoming Mr. Inspiration, what another truly wonderful reminder – particularly in these times when it is all too easy to lose sight why we should be getting up in the morning. Great business people have an ability to see business lessons in all aspects of their life, they understand that learning is all around so long as you keep your eyes and ears open.

  • Brilliant. A word of caution – once they get past the wonderful age that you indicate above – they can be more destructive in terms of learning from them a.k.a. the teenage years 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I ahve a 6 year old and i am amazed how much i have forgotten since i was his age. We accumulate so called knowledge but this clouds over the real us. A great course you maybe aware of is at the School of Practical Philosophy on Northumberland Road, they are running a Business and Philosophy couse, worth a look!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tip Barney. I will be wary of floundering business advice as he gets older. I have my 2 year old on stand by!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for mentioning the School of Practical Philosophy. I have heard of it, but must look into the school and courses in more depth. Well put by the way on “being amazed how much we have forgotten”.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks @Lewis @Niall @Richard for your comments:)

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  • Using the ‘Kids Filter’ is a great way to simplify things so we can see what’s real and what’s important. Thanks for the refresher lesson.

  • Hi Greg – love this post! I employ a 7 year old to review all of my plans and any flaws he can see are corrected before I take it to market! We all have blind spots and in our mad rush to get press or clients or hits on our websites, sometimes it’s easy to forget the fundamentals – make friends, be kind, snack regularly, work together. Well said!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comment. I am delighted to know that there is at least another 3 years business advice left in my 4 year old.

  • Nice one Margaret. I believe nowadays all businesses should really apply the hybrid approach when it comes to marketing which is splitting their efforts online and offline. It’s true that at the end of the day you must be “where your customer buys”, however I would strongly suggest to any company that claims to do “business offline only” or Internet skeptics in the B2B arena, to start thinking in “online” terms if they don’t want to be left out in the near future…

  • Hi Margaret. A point very well made. A combination of on and off-line marketing is required based on the where you know your target customers look for you. Many companies fall into the trap of “sure on-line is the cheaper place to market”. That’s great, but only if your customers are buying on-line!
    Sage advice, thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Good point Fred, ignoring the internet is an ostrich strategy but so too is ignoring how your customers do business. The fact is marketing is a constant exercise in review, analysis, adapt, implement, review, ad infinitum. (But I love it!)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Barney

  • Good points, there will always be businesses that will require being taken by the hand and guided to the “modern” way of doing things. Some businesses however don’t like the way things are going, the loss of the “human touch” so will resist as much as possible. You made a very valid point Margaret, pitch your marketing to where your customers are, using the appropriate medium.

  • Great post Margaret, what I am finding is that the internet & social media is the ‘shinny new object’ and also because there are so many workshops and network events around this whole area running across the country, SME’s are wanting to jump in, stick up a web site, stick up a facebook page and then basically use it incorrectly. Believing that because we are in difficult times and it is cheap to do this is the new marketing answer, then they don’t see results and just believe that it is the times we are in. But often it is not and really what they didn’t do was research their customers, understand them and find out what they want and need and then develop a ‘customer marketing campaign’ around this. They then continue to feel deflated and wonder where to turn to next – in fact it is not the media tools they need to turn to it is the ‘target market’ & ‘message’ that are the starting points – media tools are the last piece of the jigsaw.

  • Anonymous

    Nice post Margaret. I was reminded of this recently, when during a conversation I was complaining that our local pub doesn’t have a website outlining events, latest offers etc. I was reminded by some people in the conversation that they wouldn’t even think of going online to get that type of information. I guess we sometimes assume that the majority of people are using the Internet in the same way as us. However it is quite clear that this is not the case. Therefore a mix is always needed.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed! It can be false economy just to hop on this “shiny new object” (well put). To me, it comes back to a fundamental misunderstanding of what marketing is about—the customer. Everything else should be built around him/her. It reminds me of that film “Catch me if you can” where the dad says to Leonardo “Why do the New York Yankees always win? Because everyone is dazzled by the stripes on their shirts” I think that can often happen with owner-managers and marketing–they get focused on the funky creative stuff and can be distracted from why they’re doing it! (Due in no small part to advertising/marketing execs trying to make marketing a mystery!)

    Also love your use of the word tools–because that’s what our communication mechanisms are–tools to achieve our marketing objectives.

  • nice post Mage

  • A necessary evil for some – a necessity for others.nnI have a “rural” phone code and address. I do not want work calls coming to my home either. But I need someone “live” to answer the phone. Getting to know the people answering the phone for you helps (I am working on that one)nnUnfortunately, my belief is that large corporations expect the formality of an answered phone, and a business style address (also good for tendering), so I provide the service for one of my businesses, because I believe it is expected of me. I don’t like it, so would be great to be convinced otherwise 🙂

  • Regarding incoming calls Niall, unless you actually hire an answering/sales person, the VO will simply take a message – that is all. For a sole trader, this can be vital for NOT losing business.nWhat I love about VOs is that you don’t have to take spammy sales calls – bliss 🙂

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  • I think the inital valuation meant that the Facebook share price had no where to go except down. That said, Facebook is now going to be much more focused on generating revenues and could mean good news for investors, provided they can continue to keep users happy.

  • I think it was a success that Facebook made it to the exchange. Now they have learned a lesson from this. The free market will take care of the situation. My question is: do you think that companies like Facebook and other tech companies will have the same influence like the old traditional manufacturing companies that are a big part of the Dow Jones Index, sometime in the future?

  • Hi Simon, interesting post!
    I stay well clear of chancing my arm with shares. I read an article yesterday that convinced me it’s just not for me. However, as the rules and goalposts change with relation to traditional methods and angles, I think Facebook and peers, can teach us a new form of going public.
    Nothing is certain in this game, and just because they survived since, doesn’t mean investing in FB is now a sure bet. Just look at the history of Apple – enough to give anyone a heart attack over the past few weeks (especially the past few days)

    What built the stock markets before are not what may sustain them in future – the future is so uncertain for us mortals anyway, I certainly won’t be cashing in my post office savings 🙂

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