I often encounter small to medium-sized enterprises – particularly in the fashion and furniture industries – which have performed well until about ten years ago but today are struggling to find their place in the market. That is, since the financial crisis, globalization and the Internet have changed the course of economic history. Often, they manage to survive working as subcontractors for other brands with the ever constant dream of selling (or going back to selling) their own brand. They do not understand why their current buyers are able to sell their products, quadrupling prices; or are beside themselves when they see other – inferior – products sold at unjustified prices thinking:
if you can sell crap at such high prices then why shouldn’t I be able to sell my better-quality products? People can’t be so stupid!
I would say that rather than being “stupid” people are “submerged” in a sea of proposals; and sometimes not aware of what they are buying or what is behind the product. Never, in the history of humanity, have we had before us such a vast range of products. Competition continues to increase (even in mature markets) and more recently the Internet has brought even more choices from around the world into our homes.
All this causes confusion, and in this situation the winner is he who has a higher profile (or an unbeatable price that still has to be communicated well). Greater visibility means many things. The most important: a well-known brand, investing in communications, an extensive sales network, trade fairs, etc. All things that small and medium-sized enterprises cannot but also do not want to do (or do very little).
The quality of the product itself, unfortunately, is no longer enough. We have to put that into our heads!
We must also have a stage from which to present it to a large audience, otherwise no one will notice us despite our fine product. As Steuart Henderson Britt, the author of Marketing Management and Administrative Action and long-term editor of the Journal of Marketing said: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” When he wrote it was 1963. Today this statement is truer than ever.