There's an old story about mice in a maze. The mice get trained to follow the path that leads to the cheese. Once they master this route, they fly through the maze. Then that evil scientist decides to move the cheese. The mice continue along the same route a couple of times, but discover no cheese at the end. What to do, what to do? The mice will change their route. They will go exploring. They will find new options and new routes. Eventually they find the cheese again. And there is dancing and joy in MiceVille!
People, however, aren't that smart. People will continue to do what they've always done with the thought of "if I keep doing good, then the cheese will be there."
People don't seem to realize that the cheese they are pursuing can get moved. People don't realize they have to change their routine and they can no longer follow the "but we've always done it this way" kind of thinking.
While there are so many examples to cite, I'm going to use just one as an illustration: social media.
Social media (facebook, twitter and many others) have changed the way many of us live our lives and make our shopping choices.
Long gone are the days when the business owner had control of the message being disbursed about their business and product through traditional newspaper, magazine, radio and yellow pages ads. Today the message is being disbursed by customers and it's being disbursed quickly and immediately.
Long gone are the days when the message was put out there just to be read and then discarded. Electronic postings and messages last for infinity. The messages are more than just a message. They are interactive. The customer is pulled into the business through online contests, instant messages about the daily special, feedback on the product of the day, etc., making the customer feel that they are not just a customer but that they are actually part of the business.
Change can be hard. It can be confusing. It can be fun. It can be exciting. Sometimes change can make us feel like we are taking a step back, but it's about the whole journey. It's about knowing the demographics of the market, who the business is trying to reach and how that market can be reached.
Here is a great article by my friend Tony Fannin, President of "Be Branded", talking about marketing and how today's customer uses technology in their decisions:
"What the Google Generation Can Teach Us About Brand"