Call: 860-328-3422

MarCom Matters

September 2014
Issue: #58

Déjà Vu All Over Again

It’s true, you seldom experience the cool local tourist spots until relatives come visiting.

That was the case a couple of weeks ago when the Texas branch of our family tree travelled north to spend a week at our home.

On the first warm and sunny day after they arrived, we piled into the car and headed to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a living museum where men plow fields wearing long sleeves and high straw hats. And women in heavy ankle-length dresses stir pots of food hanging over open fires.

The perfect summer job.

One element that ties the museum together is the time period in which it is set: the 1830s, near the end of the first half of the U.S. Industrial Revolution. The pre-steam era.

By that time, technological innovation made its mark even in small towns like Old Sturbridge. Locally-owned, water powered gristmills, sawmills, and wool carding machines saved enormous amounts of time and labor.

Improvements in roads, vehicles and waterways enabled the easy exchange of raw materials and finished goods.

And even in industries like footwear, where shoes were still made by hand in homes and cobbler shops, the materials management, sales and distribution functions had become centralized.

Advancements in technology and infrastructure touched just about every producer industry in some way.

But something else had changed, too.

For consumers, those advancements paved the way to goods that were of better quality and still affordable. A family could sit down to a dinner table where all the ceramic soup bowls were identical. No small bonus. Especially if you like soup.

It was this rapid evolution of an integrated system of things that the people of the 1830s experienced.

“Pray, what beith thy point,” ye may ask, verily?

It’s this: Buyers and sellers of early 21st century goods and services are in the midst of a different technological evolution. One that began over 20 years ago.

Back then…

But wait, there’s more: We then brought our consumer-honed Internet skills to work and now use them for most business purchases.

Over those 20+ years, the Internet has evolved into an integrated system of things that has changed the way producers and customers behave.

Yet, despite how far technology has come and how ingrained it is in our lives, many business folks still haven’t caught on. They’re sawing logs by hand and thinking the water-powered sawmill isn’t relevant to them because, “My customers don’t do business that way.”

Maybe they don’t. But the ones who decide up front not to be customers almost certainly do.

What can you do?

Put on your customer hat. Think about how you can translate your expertise, opinions and skills into content to help prospects in every stage of their buying journey.

Some say the Industrial Revolution satisfied a growing and latent demand for stuff. Well, the Internet is satisfying a growing demand for information about stuff. If you’re not providing that information, or not providing it in a way that gives potential customers what they’re looking for, someone else will.

But for now, I gotta go. Soup’s ready.