Back in 2005 we hired a Statistics Class at a local university to do a study for us. They determined how to get a random sample size that would accurately reflect Jackson County and then called people to ask them one simple task…
“Name all the places you can think of in Jackson County that sell toys.”
The students would write down every store mentioned. Then they would say, “You mentioned…” and repeat the list back to the person. They would then ask, “Can you think of any more?” and repeat this until the person had thought of everyone.
Here are the results of how often the top six stores were mentioned.
- Toys R Us 84.1%
- Meijer 82.3%
- Wal-Mart 69.5%
- Toy House 64.8%
- K-Mart 59.1%
- Target 45.2%
Interesting that 35% of the population of Jackson County could not think of us even though we had been here 56 years at the time of the survey.
More interesting was that Wal-Mart had only just opened a few months before this survey was done. Was that 69.5% too high or too low seeing that they had just received about four months of wall-to-wall news coverage prior to opening?
Even more interesting was that less than half of our population thought of Target as a place that sold toys even though Target, nationally, is only behind Wal-Mart and Toys R Us in overall toy sales.
Most interesting of all was that not one single store broke the 90% (even with the 4% margin of error).
NOT EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’RE THERE
One takeaway from all this is the reminder that you have to keep marketing and advertising your business. You are not the Field of Dreams. People will not come. Mainly because they don’t even know you’re there.
35% of my hometown did not know that an award-winning store with one of the largest selection of toys in America was located right downtown in a brightly colored building for over 50 years.
YOU CAN’T REACH EVERYONE
Another takeaway is that no matter how hard you try, there will still be people who haven’t heard of you.
35% of my hometown could not name the toy store that runs radio ads every day, gets mentioned on TV every day, makes monthly appearances on radio and TV, is all over social media, and gets coverage in the local newspaper all the time.
35% of my hometown could not name the toy store whose logo is on the shirt of the guy who attends networking events, teaches classes at the local hospital and even wears his colors on his jacket all winter long.
Heck, even 15% couldn’t name Toys R Us despite them spending billions on advertising.
You could sum it up simply as…
- Always be farming for more customers
- Not every seed planted will sprout
PS This post took a turn after I started it. It was supposed to be about the importance of Networking, especially as a low-cost marketing method. I’ll get to that soon enough. In the meantime, download my FREE eBook Main Street Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for six other ways you can get the word out about your business at little or no cost.
PPS The cool thing about the survey was that I quickly knew what the people of Jackson thought when they needed to buy toys. I knew where I stood and where everyone else in the market stood, too. That is some powerful information.