“The Pizza Parable” is republished here with permission from the original in “Balloons On A Roll” blog at http://rousetech.com/roll .
Quite some years ago, I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina in the USA. Every
once and a while my wife and I went to a favorite, local Italian restaurant. It was a little out of the way and the prices were not cheap, but the food was great, the service was excellent and the atmosphere was a relaxing change from the hectic pace of our busy days.
On one occasion I spoke to the manager to thank him for a wonderful evening. I also asked him how business was since the new pizza chain had moved in down the road at the shopping mall.
“Business is very good!”, he said.
“When I heard they were moving in, I was worried” he told me, “but they have actually helped my business.”
He went on. “I knew they would have a larger advertising budget. They built in a more convenient location for drive in traffic and they get walk in traffic from the mall that we never get. Plus, their prices are lower.”
“I think we have lost a few customers to them that used to be regulars, but they were ones that rarely spent much.”
“Overall, our business is up, and I think we have the new pizza chain to thank for much of that increase. Their advertising, promotion and visibility have stimulated an increase in demand for Italian food in our area. It would not surprise me if even sales of Italian food at the grocery stores have gone up.”
“But, when it comes to Italian food, we have a bigger menu, we have a great chef, an excellent service staff and a wonderful atmosphere for diners to relax and enjoy the experience. If you don’t mind me boasting a little bit; ‘We are the best in town!'”
“Yes, you are,” I agreed.
“Thank you,” he replied. “And thank you for dining with us this evening. Do come again.”
“In fact,” he continued. “Take this gift card with you. Bring it with you when you return and enjoy wine with your dinner on us.”
“Thank you,” I said. “We’ll do that.”
And we did…. .. .
LOW PRICE COMPETITORS
Has your small balloon business has done well over the last years despite the shrinking economy, the entrance of large department stores and party store chains and even grocery stores adding balloons to their offerings? Chances are that it has not been your low prices, great advertising budget, or high traffic location that has pulled you through.
It is more likely that, like our favorite Italian restaurant, you are providing some significant added value for your customers. It is also likely that you have reaped the benefits of the “big boys” using their great advertising budget, high traffic location and low prices to promote balloons in the minds of a broader audience in your community.
If you don’t mind a little boasting, it is likely that “YOU are the best in town” at something important for your balloon market.
As Italian foods appear more frequently in advertising and in the news, it will be natural for the do-it-yourself amateurs to gather spaghetti and sauces and microwave dinners and serve them to family and friends. Some of these amateurs will never grace the doors of our favorite Italian restaurant. They will, however, spread their interest in Italian food to others who will become great prospects for our favorite dining spot
In a similar way, you can expect an upsurge in do-it-yourself balloon activity as your low price competitors do their thing. Do not whine about it. Celebrate it. Nurture it. Help each amateur succeed in their small way as they spread an interest in balloons to others.
But, be sure to also show them the difference you can make for them and their friends as a balloon professional.
We have received questions from balloon professionals who have a natural concern about these new Roll Balloons in the stores of their low price competitors and in the hands of the amateurs those competitors will supply.
After all, these Roll Balloons that are coming will make many forms of balloon decorating bigger, easier, faster, low cost, longer lasting and reusable for all those low skilled, do-it-yourself amateurs. Won’t amateurs begin doing things for themselves that professionals do now?
Yes they will!
The bar will be raised for what consumers can do for themselves with balloons. And, the bar will be raised for what professionals must do to get and keep the business of those same consumers.
BEING A PROFESSIONAL
But that is always the job of professionals in creative and growing media. You must take ordinary latex balloons that anyone can purchase locally and turn them into something special. You must take those simple message balloons that are available everywhere and make them flatter the egos and satisfy the esthetic tastes of senders and recipients. You must take an ordinary birthday party and turn it into a memorable event. You must do more for event decor than inflate balloons to fill the room. You must use balloons to inflate the image of the customer and his or her guests in the minds of the people that fill the room.
When you do these things, it will help your business for consumers to have and use all those cheap latex balloons, all those simple message balloons and even all those bigger, easier, faster, low cost, longer lasting and reusable Roll Balloons. Those amateurs will be spreading their interest in balloons and helping build a bigger balloon market for you.
After all, YOU are the professional. YOU are the one who can take any of the balloons that amateurs have and turn them into something really special. “YOU are the best!” And, there is always a market for excellence.
If you missed the introduction to what Roll Balloons are, we recommend you pause now and read, “Rolling Out Roll Balloons”. It will get you “up to speed.”
Thanks for joining me here this time. I look forward to having you back again.
Until then, I remain your host for Balloons On A Roll blog.
Rouse Technologies LLC
“Advancing The Art & Commerce Of Balloons Worldwide”
With Rouse Original Technologies
Clemson, SC USA.
Copyright 2012 by Graham Rouse, Rouse Technologies LLC
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