Because The Light is Better Here
It’s a punchline to an old joke you’ve probably heard, but just in case you haven’t, it goes like this:
Coming out of a bar at night, George sees Harry, a friend and fellow bar patron who’d left minutes before, on his hands and knees searching for something under a lamp post. "Harry, what did you lose?" asks George. "I lost my keys under a car," says Harry. "If you lost them under a car, why are you looking under the lamp post?" asks George. "Because the light is better here," says Harry.
Obviously, Harry’s judgment is impaired. He’s looking where it’s easier to look, rather than where his keys might be found.
What Harry is doing is not unlike what a lot of businesses do, as they continue to look for customers with broadcast media, print ads, and press releases. Though their customers are increasingly not to be found in the audience for those "tried and true" methods of marketing, that’s the marketing territory they know (or are being sold), so that’s where they continue to look. I’m sure they’ve noticed their results are not what they once were, but maybe if they "turn up the light…"
If their customers aren’t where they used to be, where are they? Most of them are on the Internet, either making purchases or researching purchases they plan to make. Who do they do business with? With whoever they find online who engages them with content that answers their questions and solves their problems. They start with Google, and they find answers and solutions without leaving their chair.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they buy online, although sometimes they do. Sometimes they find a website or a blog that speaks to them about what they’re interested in. They subscribe to updates and develop a relationship with the company. When it’s time for them to buy, that company gets their business.
That was an oversimplification, but the techniques of making your business findable—and engaging those who find it—are not complicated. They don’t require much money (especially in comparison to traditional marketing), but they do require time and effort, and a willingness to learn something you might not be familiar with.
Business people who want to stay in business follow their customers. If their customers are not "under the light," they find them where they are.