Picture the Scene:
I arrive at my local market on a crisp Monday morning to purchase my fruit and veg and as I slowly wander around I start to notice something strange. Above each stall is a large BIG BOLD advert, which I have to read twice as its import catches my attention:
â€œHave you tried the new OUT OF TOWN shopping centre? Morriscos sells these oranges MUCH cheaper than this stall!â€
As I wander around, I notice more and more of these strange adverts:
â€œBuy this item at our new shiny OUT OF TOWN shopping centreâ€¦ Morriscos!â€
â€œDo not buy this kettle here; Morriscos will sell it to you at cost!â€
As I am a long-standing regular customer of the market, when I spot the owner walking around, I go to find out what he’s playing at.
â€œWhy do you tell your customers to go elsewhere?â€ I inquire with much curiosity and incredulity.
â€œWell,â€ he replies, â€œafter much in-depth calculation, we have realised that we get Â£100 a week from our stall holders. The advertising will generate an additional Â£10 a week, so our revenue will increase to Â£110. We have a hundred stalls, so now we are making Â£11,000 a week instead of Â£10,000 a week.” Looking at me smugly, he goes on to say, â€œDon’t you think that’s a stroke of GENIUS?â€
I decide not to discuss an obvious flaw in the plan and continue to listen to his rationale. After a little while, I find out that his big brother owns an advertising firm, â€œShippingOverThereAdvertising.comâ€, which also gives another insight into the decision that has been made.
As I wander out of the market, many dark looks and unhappy faces meet my inquiring gaze.
So not thinking much of it, I come back a couple of months later (The new Morriscos really is superb you know, it sells all of the same stuff, maybe at different prices, but they just LOOK so much more professional) and I see my friend the advertising guru looking not quite so smug.
â€œWhat’s wrongâ€ I ask, â€œyou don’t seem as happy as last time I saw youâ€¦â€
To which he responds with a pained expression, â€œWell I have to be honest, you know that advertising trick I tried?â€ He continues after a nod of ascent from myself, â€œWell those traitorous stallholders of mine took advantage!â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€ I ask.
â€œTwenty of my stall holders went over to Morriscos and opened small shop units over there! So now we have Â£8,800 as revenue, and more of them are threatening to move as they say there are fewer established customers here now, and people like the air conditioning and gentle music over THERE!â€
The conversation carried on for a while, but the owner finished on this interesting observation:
â€œWhy oh why did I let Morriscos have a foothold in our marketplace, we had a captive loyal customer base of shoppers, but now they have all deserted us and saying we are old hat, not only that we are bleeding sellers faster than we can replace them as they are moving over to Morriscos where all the customers areâ€¦â€
This would be the obvious flaw in the plan that I did not mention earlier. So I wander away and consider the moral of the story…
Don’t tell the cows the grass is greener on the other side, as they tend to jump the fence when they find that out!