When we want something we tend to go to great lengths or distances to get it.
When we find something that we enjoy we will go the distance, sometimes to extremes if necessary.
A common example is a favorite restaurant or food item,I will gladly drive for hours to get to a favorite restaurant and do it all of the time as the examples below will show
- I will still drive to a small mom and pop pizza / italian food in Huntington Beach for a slice of pizza or their Italian subs, one of the only ones I’ve ever encountered with a drive-thru.
- I will gladly make the drive to Agoura Hills to a small Italian restaurant for their delicious lasagna.
- I will drive to Glendale for some of the more authentic Mexican tacos (in L.A. where we’re saturated with taco trucks and vendors, that’s saying something).
I used to make the drive to Seal Beach for a waffle cone filled with two scoops of decadent chocolate, raspberry, vanilla ice-cream–a combination that I would never get anywhere else.
I will sometimes (more often than not) drive to one El Pollo Loco fast food location over another that may be closer to me because for some reason the food always tastes just made at that one.
Most of these restaurants are independently owned and operated except for the latter, likely by a family versus a corporation and that adds to why I will drive a bit longer to get to them, but it’s also the quality of their product–their food is delicious to me and their story. I like the idea of supporting a small business owner.
The list goes on and on and on.
Doctors and medical professionals / specialists can also be worth going the distance. I had a dentist that I liked that I would drive 2-3 hours to see. Sure, there were many others I could have gone to, but I really liked this dentist and her bedside manner, I felt comfortable and trusted her. My favorite Optometrist is in Manhattan Beach and I will make the trek over each year for that annual eye exam.
Don’t even get me started on hair stylists as I have been known to at times fly back-and-forth to my hairdresser. Most women can relate as when you find a great hair guru, you treasure them like gold. Love at first blow-out and color easily turns into one of your most successful long-term relationships. Before you know it, you’ve been seeing each other for years.
Once I find a product or person that to me is worth it, I tend to remain loyal. Why mess up a good thing?
The same goes for relationships and friendships, if you enjoy the company of another or care for them, you don’t mind going the distance to see and spend time with them. Of course, now there are so many virtual tools that make us feel as though we are closer and more connected than we sometimes are. Of course none of those can compare to an in-person hug or in-person laughs and conversations with your favorite people, but they help to ease the burden.
So now when I hear anyone bring up what used to be one of the pillars of business, “location, location, location” it kind of makes me laugh. Sure, it still is important where you’re located and if you are a business, say a coffee shop, that is located near a heavily trafficked area full of your target customers then definitely that location is likely going to benefit your bottom line. However, nowadays if people like your product they will find you wherever you are.
As a business, your digital presence (Google search results, social media, etc.) now almost matters more than your location as that’s where people will first engage with your brand and also how they will learn where you are located. More importantly it is where your potential customers can find out more about your brand / origin story which oftentime is what endears you to new customers. A brand is just a brand, but when there’s a story that makes a customer feel invested that’s what will build your following.
It’s all about the connection. Similar to a relationship where you can have all of the chemistry in the world with someone but that isn’t going to make you take flights or put serious miles on your car. Sure, maybe once or twice, but not for the long-term and not regularly. No. What makes you go the distance is the connection with the person–the easy (or sometimes even the difficult) conversations, the trust you have in one another, the fun you have, the care you have for one another. In short, the connection which is the fondness or warmth in your heart for that other person. For a business if a customer can connect with your story or your product becomes a part of theirs (i.e. amazing quality–can’t live without this mascara, need these cookies once a week, these shoes are made of recycled plastic that are helping our carbon footprint, etc., etc.) it tugs on the same heartstrings and that’s when consumers will go above and beyond when it comes to finding you or your product. When they feel that connection beyond just the temporary fix.
To be honest, most products no longer need a brick and mortar location, but being distributed through different outlets is something to consider (i.e. a beauty brand made available at specialty shops like Blue Mercury, Sephora, or Ulta or at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstroms, or Bloomingdales) as it does make it easier for those customers who are more of the “need it now” variety that don’t want to wait for shipping or deliveries and also increases discoverability of your product for new customers.
Selling a product or brand these days definitely necessitates a good marketing, digital, and distribution strategy in order to maximize reach and create sales.
While physical location is no longer as important as it once was, letting everyone know that you exist still does. Word of mouth is great and organic success is always the best and most authentic way to win over new customers and this base starter round of loyal customers who have connected with your story or the quality of your products will serve as great ambassadors to keep the buzz going. These are likely the folks that like me will travel a longer distance to get to you if they find you are worth it. Yet, having the additional marketing levers engaged will help you to find even more potential customers to make a connection with.
And once sparks fly and you can begin to take that relationship to the next level towards the long term as you both go the distance.