In the business world, the Internet has grown to represent that infamous mad scientist’s secluded Island lab; you know, the one with all the horrifying experiments and giant powered ray guns that promise to spell doom to the rest of the world.
As someone who not only studied business in school, but continues to out of a greater passion, I’m always fascinated by the differences that more traditional brick and mortar businesses face as opposed to their younger, hyper siblings in the online world.
It’s Like Playing Hyper Pinball
One of the biggest differences between online and offline business is the rate of change.
We basically found ourselves stepping back, taking a look at things and basically admitting “wow, this kinda sucks”
For a business that is already finding success (read: profitability), it’s easy to see why they might just stick to the game that they can reliably put up a decent score on and call it a day.
Now, throw in the added element of the Internet. Basically, all you have to do is take the pinball and add a little Flubber and there you go. Hyperspeed! Hyperchange!
Rapid change is the name of the game, and in e-commerce, if you’re not keeping pace with change, expect to fade away before you know what hit you. On the other hand, keeping up can be a full-time job, and making wrong changes can be more dangerous than no change.
As a company that is playing this game of “hyper pinball”, we feel that we kind of fell behind with the pace. The good news is now we’re in the process of making a lot of exciting new improvements at USImprints. We not only want to change with now in mind, but also with the future in mind.
They Say Knowledge is Power
We pride ourselves as an online store with great customer service. We truly care about our customers. We want them to have a great experience. We want them to be satisfied with the products they order, but we also care about their promotions meeting or exceeding expectations because in the greater scheme of the business ecosystem, our customers success is also our success (oh, and we’re just caring people!).
While we don’t usually put it this way, we found ourselves stepping back, taking a look at things and basically admitting “wow, this kinda sucks now, doesn’t it?” The truth is, we want anyone who visits our website to see that we really are great at selling imprinted items, serving our customers, and experts at what we do. We want to provide value to anyone who might come across USImprints. So we didn’t stop at the acknowledgement, but followed it up with, “how can we make it better?”
One thing the online world offers that the offline doesn’t is that information is coupled with everything. Buy one, get information free.
Of course, no business will survive that can’t sell its products or services, but what more is selling than conveying your business’ story of why customers want or need your product or service?
Personally, that is the most exciting shift that we’ve seen as a result of the technological boom. In the past, you might come up with this awesome product that will forever make everyone’s daily life exponentially better, but without the ability to tell that story of why your product was so great and how it will impact people’s lives was limited.
First, you had to be in immediate physical proximity of an audience to really demonstrate a product (most powerful method of conveying knowledge), and basic ways to spread the word (e.g. flyers). Over time, new means of spreading your story popped up. Radio and TV brought along ads and infomercials. Gradually the limiting factor of location disappeared, but these were one-sided mediums.
The Internet continues to make changes to the entire landscape. Now we can tell our story to potential customers all over the world. We can interact with clients. We can provide more than information, we can provide useful tools. We are able to get our message across without having to pay to force it upon an audience. As marketers, all of these possibilities are terrifically exciting.
Selling is Story—telling
As a one stop shop for promotional products, we’d love to tell you that your organization or it is needs some killer gear to make your cause a success, but the truth is it might not!
The point is that it is more important than ever to have broad reach and be creative. Our story is not why you need to tackle people on the streets and hand out frisbees with your logo on them, heck, for all we know, that might be just the thing to take your Extreme Ultimate Frisbee league off the ground. Our story is about the infinite number of ways you can build brands and promote, well, anything!
Context is everything, and that’s why organizations need to continue to devise ways to better promote themselves.
We not only want to change with now in mind, but also with the future in mind.
This post isn’t just an announcement of our new blog, it is an announcement of plenty more to come. As we continue to reestablish our own identity you can expect to find all sorts of new content on our blog, all under the confines of the personal, friendly feel that USImprints has always had. Our goal is always to be at least insightful, interesting, or entertaining, if not all three.
Once again, for me, that’s terrifically exciting!