Weekly Column: 2017-05-26

From the middle of the year 2000, the explosion of digital technology has made it easier for consumers to find the products and services they desire. At the time, I remember having experienced diverse trials and errors as I started online sales through eBay. I did not have the capacity to make big investments like other competitors, so in order to reduce expenses, such as rent, I started online sales. However, since anyone could do online sales, it was several hundred times more competitive than offline sales. Despite the fact that the products I sold were better quality at a lower price than those of my competitors, sales did not improve, and even though I worked harder than others, failure continued to follow. It took three full years for me to figure out why this was happening. It was the lack of marketing.

No matter how good the information is, it is useless unless you actually listen to it.

Since then, I have started advertising my products via online marketing. Online marketing was the way to create an effective rippling effect at a low cost. Through this, I was able to start advertising my products not only in Canada and the U.S but also Europe. Although the sales had improved, I felt that they particularly reflected the amount of marketing I put in.  Clearly, traffic had increased and many people came to see my products, but the traffic did not result in sales. I thought this was a waste of my time and considered it to be another failure. Then it took me another three years to figure out why. It was patience.

And now, four years later, I have become and online marketer who manages many companies and offers consultations. I am surprised by some of my various consultations as more often than not, a significant number of people think exactly as I did ten years ago when I had failed. It’s a common thought: since the products themselves are competitive enough, they do not need to market them. In order to bring success to sales, first and foremost, you must differentiate your products and services from that of other competitors. However, in this day and age of digital technology, is it possible to make more sales if you are merely competitive? The most important thing, in fact, is to be able to read the trends in the market and inform consumers about your products and services before anything else.

Patience is the next step. Marketing does not necessarily yield immediate results. Because there are many similar products with differing quality and prices, in the eyes of the consumer, it can get quite overwhelming. Consumers tend to have faith in the quality of a brand that is well-known. When comparing a similar product, even if there is a large price difference between a famous brand and a relatively unknown brand, many consumers will choose the famous brand. Therefore, although marketing is important and directly connected to sales, it is more important to inform the consumers about your products or services in advance. It’s about creating a brand and giving it value in order to raise your sales.

You must sell the value, not the product, to make the brand.

If I look back on the last ten years of my online sales, I initially sold products, but now I sell my brand. For the last ten years, I was raising awareness of my products and brand, so now I am able to sell my products at a higher price than similar products. Of course, in the view of the consumer, if someone sells a cheap item at a high price, many will consider it a con, but no one will view the sale of a luxury brand as a scam. It is rather the result of sensible marketing from my being able to read the trends in the market, predict the next trend and give my brand a greater value that the consumer purchasing the products will perceive as a higher value.

The main purpose of marketing, of course, is to increase sales. Just as ineffective investments are useless, marketing without sales is meaningless. For that reason, after many companies start the marketing process, with high hopes, they often become discouraged when there are no instant results and halt their efforts. However, marketing is something you do with the future in mind—it’s a long haul. It’s not who runs the fastest, but who runs to the end.

In this highly competitive age, it is quite important to have results almost instantly. Therefore, when people start marketing like they are grasping at straws, but fail to achieve the anticipated results within a short period of time, it is considered a failure. However, marketing is not magic. The goal of marketing is not to boost sales, but to create a brand by giving it value.  So even if it may take a bit of time, you must be patient and persevere by preparing for the future through steady marketing.

Persevere, persevere, and persevere!

The results for someone who does not try and for the person who tries but gives up halfway through are the same. I believe that if you persevere in specialized marketing with enduring patience in the face of intense competition, you will be rewarded with greater results.