The new environment|Jill Lublin

With Robbie Motter and Roberta Shaler

I’m sure you’ve noticed how business has changed. We’ve left the era where companies could sit back, coast on their reputations, and let customers vie to do business with them. Now, everything has speeded up and is usually in flux. In business, change is no longer unusual or an isolated event — it’s now the norm.

To succeed today in business, you can’t stand still — regardless of how well you may now be doing. Expect change, continual change. Expect your markets to be filled with new players and more to join every day. Notice how local businesses have gone global and competition has grown fierce. American products are now filled with components made all over the globe. Labels, instructions, and manuals are printed in multiple languages. Tactics that served you brilliantly may soon be faded and flat.

With the Internet and instantaneous communications a new breed of competitors can turn out your core goods and services cheaper, faster, and equally well. As soon as your items hit the street, someone, somewhere, can duplicate them, beat your price, and deliver their versions anywhere. To make matters worse, many of them will do ANYTHING to make a buck.

Along with these changes, marketers have intensified their campaigns. They now hound consumers unrelentingly on every front. Their constant assaults are in full swing 24/7, which has made consumers wary, even jaded. Since they have heard every pitch, every promise, and been burned, they have become deaf to advertisers, hucksters, promoters and their BS. Buyers today are so guarded and self-protective that getting their attention has become a hurdle that most marketers can’t clear.

Cut through the din, the noise, and all that junk mail; adopt new approaches. Stop shouting, someone will always drown you out. Plus, you’re just adding to the noise. Change your pitch, adjust your tone, alter your voice, rework your message, and design a new plan. Come at them differently with more power, pizzazz, and punch. Work smarter.

Analyze recent changes, examine the competition, and anticipate what the future will bring. Find your special niche, develop solid plans, and work diligently to achieve them. Consistently provide excellence at an accelerated pace. Become customer oriented. Find shortcuts and get help by building close alliances. Distinguish yourself — get noticed.