I don’t get all in a flap very often but, while driving into Vancouver one morning I was listening to CBC Radio, I’m not sure who the host was but it was during Rick Cluff’s time slot. The interview was with the Executive Director of the Coquitlam Chamber of Commerce, the discussion was about all the construction parallel to United Blvd. How the new Port Mann Bridge and the freeway construction was hurting business on the boulevard. Now I’m not sure what prompted the host of the show to suggest this but it got me, he asked the Executive Director of the Chamber if the government was going to bail these businesses out or help them out in some way. Say WHAT!
Why is it that everyone believes the government should give people money when most of the businesses could have done something to at least minimize the damage. Hell, I’m certain these businesses in question knew for months if not years this construction was coming, that it was going to happen. The perception now is that they did nothing to prepare, they figured we’ll wait and see how it goes, and if it doesn’t go well, we will put pressure on the government to give us money. I can with all certainty tell you that the future of business will not tolerate this model, in fact, this entitlement thinking will keep our country broke and even bankrupt if allowed to continue.
I would love to know what crazy ideas came to the table behind the closed doors of these businesses, to help get through the next 12 weeks, how many ideas were shutdown and squashed due to fear. There is a huge Casino on this boulevard, the Red Robinson Theatre too. There is much that could be done to partner all these businesses with their hands out, they could work together, now there’s a concept. I’m willing to bet my lunch money The Red Robinson Theatre & The Casino will do just fine, why, people will do anything, go anywhere to feed the need of entertainment and gambling. If that’s the case, then these businesses on United Boulevard should work together to strategize how to work through the next 12 weeks, the big anchors could lead the way.
As you can see, my perception of this dilemma, this was a marketing agencies wet dream, the opportunity is/was huge, but did anyone approach this group of businesses. I suspect not, to my knowledge there has been absolutely no marketing to my neighbourhood, I haven’t seen, heard a Radio or TV ad, not a Tweet about anything to entice me to shop United Boulevard. With all that is availabe to these businesses to market themselves during this construction, I have yet to find any ads in traditional media let alone digital, no crazy awesome deals to make me venture into the construction soup. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place, maybe I don’t care, or maybe they haven’t reached out to make me care.
I shared this story with a group of marketers, the look on their faces was enough for me. So is construction an excuse, is it really the root problem. Or is being prepared the real issue at hand, if you have read this blog regularly, you would know that the future of business has the upper hand. The problem isn’t construction, it isn’t the business, it is however, the owners of those businesses, how they think, and it possibly reveals a lack of foresight. I would like to give the business owners the benefit of the doubt, but, in times like this, businesses need to grow up!
I know, I’m ranting a bit, but this is a great case study don’t you think? So how could these business help themselves, what would you do if you had the opportunity to help these businesses? What crazy marketing ideas would you bring to the table? Would you let road construction be the reason the doors closed your business?