My office now sits next to a great little flower shop called The Flower Gazebo. (You should really check it out.) It is owned by a wonderful couple (currently letting me gank their internet). The Flower Gazebo, though you'd never know it, makes a great case study for advertising. Is that because they do such great ad work? No. To be honest, I don't think they do much of any. They make an excelent case study because they, by virtue of their skill and trade, are poised to be what we all need to be ... wanted.
Nobody Needs Flowers
Perhaps that seems harsh and even a little undesirable, but not being needed is very important. People are willing to pay more for things they want than they are for things they need. It's why people are willing to pay $1.79 for a 20oz. bottle of Smart Water while a gallon of tap water only cost 2.5¢. It's why the last item cut from a personal budget is a $3.97 cup of coffee. It's why people buy Thneeds. A carpenter once told me he profits more from making a yard chair than a kitchen table because people need kitchen tables and know that someone somewhere will sell it for less. Though flowers are nice to have around, no one needs them. The good new is this:
Everybody Wants Flowers ... Sometimes
Everybody at some point is going to want to buy some flowers. But, it's not like a Christmas Ham of which the selling is only good once a year. Every time you turn around there is a different occasion for flower purchasing. Each containing its own targeted audience. Just think about the different reasons for buying flowers and the different people who would be drawn by them. There are prom flowers, graduation flowers, wedding flowers, anniversary flowers, Mother's Day flowers, Secretary's Day flowers and the most important I'm So Sorry flowers. It is great being wanted by everyone at different times. This, to me, is the best way to be wanted. To illustrate, let's look at the five following possibilities.
Nobody Wants You at Any Time
This is a frustrating situation because it forces you to create a need before you can really get going. Not everyone is suited for need creating, and many people fail to take that crucial first step altogether.
Everybody Wants You All the Time
Though this might seem ideal the truth is that if there is this much demand you will (very soon if not already) not be the only supplier. Competition is good, but it forces you to adopt a different game plan.
Some People Want You Some of the Time
This is certainly a very doable situation. The problem comes in with sustainability. Can the times of plenty sustain you through the lean times? This can be difficult to balance and even more difficult to enjoy.
Some People Want You All of the Time
Most businesses love this situation. It's what we call a niche market. Your target audience is small and well defined; your cash flow is consistent. This is indeed nice work if you can get it.
Everybody Wants You Some of the Time
This is my favorite. Your target audience is a little less predictable, but that means business can come from anywhere. Lean times are more manageable because the prime purchasing times vary giving you a lot of flexibility.
Few of us have the luxury of being the top in a desired field. So, what can we glean from from this botanical example? When advertising you should be wanted. Don't try to be needed, and try not to be too pushy. Know why your clients want you and remind them of that. After all, I would rather be reminded to get my wife anniversary flowers than be force to get her I'm So Sorry flowers.