>For my two cents, Bruce Gordon makes some great points. Even if Bruce is the worst marketer on the planet (maybe he is?) it does not matter. Bruce's products are out there - he has put them in the public eye at a variety of bike shows. Yet the competition he mentions continues to sell lots of product, and he is struggling. It is an indictment of the publics lack of understanding that is starving Bruce for orders - folks should be knocking his doors down.
>You can certanly say that Bruce is either right or wrong or in the middle on how he runs his business. But I certainly can't deny that he has a good point to make in his frustration at the number of folks out there who "don't get it" - and one of the reasons is because of the "marketers" manipulation of peoples perceptions.
I don't think you necessarily mean this, but what you seem to be saying is that it's the public's fault. They need to get off their lazy a$$es, educate themselves and then beat a path to Bruce's (or any other KoF's) door. That ain't gonna happen. And really, it's not the public's responsibility.
All marketing isn't smoke and mirrors. Good marketing educates that portion of the public that is always looking for quality. And that portion isn't the "more money than sense" segment Don wants to cater to. Most people that lay down the cash for Trek Madone V.5.09 Service Pack IV aren't ungodly rich and yet they probably don't know that they can get a custom job for around the amount of money - or less.
It's part of any businessman's job to get the word out. IMO, the Internet removes the last excuse for not doing so. Hire a web-savvy geek and have him or her set up your site so that every time someone Googles "Lance" you get a hit. And every other cycling buzz word.
E-Ritchie, Brian, Peter and the other KoFs who aren't in a bind might not need the local shops, but if you are new or struggling, you might want to find a way to get the Steve Willises of this world in your corner. Eighty percent of $2000 is a bigger number than 100% of zero. Particularly if you get to take 80% of $2k fifty times a year.
I'm a reluctant capitalist at best and I would make a lousy entrepreneur. My son, OTOH, has had several successful start-ups and operates several businesses under the umbrella of his holding company. Every time in my life that I've even briefly considered going into business for myself - and it's always a brief consideration - my calculus was based on the thought that if I'm going to spend 100+ hours/week trying to get this thing off the ground, it better be something I love to do. My son points out that I'm asking myself the wrong question. It's not what can I stand to sell. It's what do people want to buy. He's right.
If Bruce or any other frame maker cannot find some points of convergence between what they want to build and what people want to buy, it's possible that they are barking up the wrong tree in their choice of work.
Just my 2¢.