Marketing during the recession is a terribly important topic for me - so much so that I wrote an e-book on the subject. I'd be honored if you read it today during lunch or on your commute (there's no cost, of course).
I'm so passionate about this topic because I think we are in a time of great opportunity. It's easy to get depressed or pessimistic or cynical. It seems like everything on TV or elsewhere in the media is all doom and gloom.
It doesn't have to be this way. I truly believe that this is the perfect time for you to break out of your mold. Differentiate yourself from your competitors. Do the tough work that will allow you to burst out of the gate once money starts flowing again.
Here are a few of my favorite myths in need of a good de-bunking:
2. I'm Afraid. How is this a marketing myth? Think of everything you hear around the office that translates into "I'm afraid."
- "Has the boss seen this?"
- "Nobody's done that before."
- "It's risky."
A lot of businesspeople hunker down during a recession, hoping they can just ride it out without creating too many problems. That's actually more risky (and scary).
It's OK to be afraid of new marketing tactics, but it's not OK to allow that fear to stop you from taking risks. As General Eric Shinseki said: "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."
5. I'd be better off letting my competitors try [insert new marketing initiative] first. Then I can learn from their mistakes.
What you consider mistakes are actually learning opportunities. Sure, some missteps are more seriously, but consider the experience your opponent is gaining while you sit on the digital sidelines.
Expert commentary from Sun Tzu's The Art of War explains the importance of being ahead of your opponent:
"Once war is declared, [the leader] will not waste precious time...with all great strategists, from Julius Caesar to Napoleon Bonaparte, the value of time - that is, being a little ahead of your opponent - has counted for more than either numerical superiority or the nicest calculations with regard to commissariat."
Being first allows you to build up what Len Kendall describes as a sort of "giving storehouse." His "Give/Take Ratio" post illustrates that subsequent market competitors will have to work much, much harder to earn trust than the early adopter.
8. We don't have anything to share with our customers. Besides, they don't want to talk to us, anyway.
This is sometimes true. Not many people want to chat up the guy who makes their ball bearings.
But there are a lot more brands people want to interact with that aren't making an effort yet. So what do you have to offer?
First, you've got access. If customers are interested in your product, it's likely they would want to take a peek behind the curtain.
Second, you've got an experienced workforce with highly specialized knowledge. Employees frequently have the potential to be amazing brand representatives, given the proper encouragement.
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(Image courtesy of pasotraspaso via Flickr)