Addiction: Do You Have a Problem?

Chances are we all know people who have an addiction. It could be smoking, drugs, drinking, bad relationships, or a whole host of things that people know is wrong yet they continue doing. Smoking is a great example, every person who smokes knows it has negative health risks, yet they continue to do it. All the logic tells them that quitting is the right thing, yet, they continue to light up every chance they have.

If you care about people like this, you probably get frustrated that they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. As their support network, we must be supportive and work with them to get through the addiction. However, until they decide they want to make the change, there is nothing we can say or do to force change, we must just continue to educate them and wait for the day they embrace change. Because after all, change is hard, but in most cases necessary.

After reading the above, you are probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with business in Calgary? The answer is simple, many businesses have an addiction to “print” advertising. At this point every business knows the influence the Internet is having in the world, yet they continue to do 2 things, a) they complain that their business is not growing as much as they want, and b) they continue to drop 100% of their budget into print advertising.

You can understand why they do this, when you understand addictions. An addict goes back to something that is familiar, even if it is unhealthy for them, because they get something out of it that they believe they cannot get anywhere else. Bottom line, they have not accepted or are unwilling to make the change, therefore, they give themselves the false sense of security that what they are doing is right for them.

It amazes me how often I hear businesses complain about the price of print, the lack of business they are getting from print, and their frustration with print. Yet, what do they continue to do, print advertising, whether the local phone book, flyers, direct mail, newspaper, etc. When I ask why, I get a lot of answers, but the ones below always amaze me:

the first couple of times I did it, it worked great, therefore, I just need to change my ad to capture those results again (sounds to me like the first time somebody does drugs, and continues doing it to capture the same high as before)
that is what I know, I have been doing it since the start of my business (sounds like a smoker who has been doing it for 20-years, I can’t change now)
I like my rep., they are always nice and pleasant (sounds like a good dealer providing the fix)
everybody still reads print, I know I do (sounds like denial to me)
Don’t get me wrong, print advertising can be a very effective way of generating business, however, not incorporating the Internet into your small business media mix is as bad a decision. Eventually it will catch up with you and cause some serious problems for your business.

If you have not already started planning your Internet strategy, make yourself a goal to start talking to the experts on how your business can take advantage of this medium. It does not have to be a large investment either, sometimes just a presence can be enough to increase sales.