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Marketing Matters: Retailers Respond To The Call For A New Independent

Back in January, this column talked
about what it will take for independent
home and car A/V
retailers to not only survive but to also
experience a business renaissance.

This included an invitation for those
interested to contact me for a free
“change” template of what I believe is
needed to make this transition. (Email
me at the address below and I’ll send it to
you.) The response far exceeded my expectations,
and I thoroughly enjoyed my
conversations with so many of you.

While I had my own ideas, I also
learned from many of you, enough so
to think it would be a good idea to take
up this topic again, this time describing
some of your success tactics. While it is
easy to get depressed given all the bad
news, there

are

success stories.

At the top of the list are social networks
to promote your businesses. These include
MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and even to a
degree professional social-media sites such
as Plaxo and LinkedIn, depending on who
your target customer is. But let’s be clear
— if you think simply opening a Facebook
or Twitter account is
sufficient, don’t bother.
Like a hammer
or a saw, social-media
sites are good
tools if you use
them; if you don’t
they’re worthless.

One of the best examples
of what to do
comes from Mitchell
Schaffer, president/
founder of Mobile
Edge in Lehighton Pa. Mitch founded
his company more than 15 years ago
and in his own words, “I’ve seen great
times and not so great.” But had he not
changed the way he did business — as
many of you likely still do — he wouldn’t
be around today, he said.

Mitch works hard using Twitter and
Facebook, each in support of the other,
and often coupled to more traditional promotions.
Recently he and Enormis Mobile
Specialties, a dealer located clear across
the state in Erie, Pa., engaged in head-tohead
competition to see who could get the
greatest number of Facebook “fans” following
their stores. Mitch said the effort
“created a lot of excitement and goodwill
at both shops. The winner would offer
their fans a special one-day, 50 percent off
sale. Enormis ended up winning the contest,
but we both added way more than
500 fans. Success! ”

Added Enormis owner/founder Lou
Norman, “I used to fight the Internet but no
more. Join it and use it to your advantage.”

The more time I spent on their Web
sites the more apparent it became that
their approach to the Internet is way
more than what they sell — from their
blogs and discussion boards to the liberal
use of embedded video and their joint
promotion. Not your father’s car stereo
display board, is it?

Maybe you think social media is not for
you because your business is too traditional,
too low tech? Don’t tell that to Kogi BBQ,
whose food trucks are located in Southern
Cal. These days Kogi is close to being
as famous for its use of Twitter to generate
standing-in-line demand for its mobile
food as it is for the chow itself. Think about
it: Standing-in-line demand for truck food
with more than 56,000 Twitter followers! If
Kogi can use social media to sell barbeque,
don’t you think it will help sell sophisticated
home and car electronics?

William Matthies is the CEO of Coyote Insight (www.coyoteinsight.com) and can be reached at wmatthies@coyoteinsight.com or at (714) 726-2901. Visit the Coyote Insight blog at http://coyoteinsight.blogspot.com and Business Wisdom at http://businesswisdom101.blogspot.com.

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