Wednesday, 25 February 2009

7 Myths About Marketing in Economic Downturns

When I read David Poulos’ article, the 7 Myths About Marketing in Economic Downturns, I was reminded once again that the time when the economy slumps is exactly the time when you shouldn’t stop marketing.

Most marketers instinctively know this….you need to keep your brand in front of the buyer, that’s how people learn about your product! And if your competitors are turning down their marketing efforts, well you’re in an even better position to dominate mindshare.

The challenge is how do you weather the economic storm and keep marketing moving on a downsized budget? Since the majority of us work for companies that aren’t global, worldwide brands already cemented as a fixture in the minds of consumer and/or business buyers, we NEED to keep marketing.

Myth #1 in Poulos’ article sums it up:

“Few brands are strong enough to survive without advertising, product promotion, and customer service support. Brands are like delicate houseplants—they need attention, support, bolstering, and polishing, (the marketing equivalent of nutrients, light and water)—or they will wither and shrivel to a shadow of their former self. This is not a position you want your corporate brand to be in when the growth engine for the economy revs back up.”

Poulos goes on to say, “Those that reduce their presence in their key service markets are in a far worse position in terms of profitability, market share, and market competitive presence when the downturn eases and profitability growth returns than those that maintain their marketing activity levels.” This article by Craig Pearce outlines a number of other reasons for treating an economic downturn as an opportunity…but these two observations in particular stood out to me:

- Creativity will give you more of an edge than in ‘normal’ times.

- Being positive helps keep and make new friends. Proactive marketing is an example of being positive in a tough environment.

I like this way of thinking – creativity being key and the idea that proactive marketing sends a positive message. It takes some smart thinking to do more with less, but it can be done. You just have to be creative. Stay focused. And stay positive.

As an example, the company I work for, FaceTime Communications, recently launched a video on YouTube to help further awareness of our web security solutions and promote our ‘No URL Filtering Fees’ program. My colleague and I star as roving reporters in the field observing a nearly extinct species…the URL filtering sales guy. Take a look at the Larissa and Sarah Show.

Creative? We hope so. We spread the word through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and so far it’s been viewed more than 10 times that of our competitor’s presentation-style video - and it’s getting positive comments. People are responding favorably to the humor and personal aspect. Exactly the reaction we were hoping for.

As for ROI, considering it was a low-cost undertaking and the capital expenditure was mostly just time on our part...well, we’re staying positive on that too.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The People Issue

Recently, the entire BrightBlue Marketing team got together to discuss lessons learned in 2008. And surprisingly enough, not one of them dealt with a marketing topic. Every last discussion involved the people factor, which confirms the speech topic I chose for an upcoming speaking engagement: "Marketing and Psychology: Adjusting your behavior to get things done."

After working at Oracle for many years, I realized what a necessity psychology is in getting the job done. It's about finding a way for the competitive personality type to succumb to working as a team. How do you do this? Part of it is bringing out the best in people, making them shine in front of the others, keeping a sense of humor about yourself, allowing another person to express themselves, being sincere. You must address and master the people issues to be successful.

It's hard work, trying to keep the interest of the internal team as well as finding a way to captivate the attention of your target audience. Eventually, however, positivity begets positivity and everything falls into place with an audible click. And sure enough, things get done.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Email From a Teacher

I’ve been having a difficult week personally because my wonderful, loving sister-in-law Janice is now in hospice care after fighting brain cancer for nearly two years. This comes on top of losing a lovely young niece to breast cancer just weeks ago. Being in a low state of mind, I opened my email this morning and saw two things that buoyed me up. First, I got an email from a Teacher. There’s an organization called <> where you can give any amount to help fund a teacher’s project. Through contributions, the Teacher was able to buy a set of Rachel Carson’s books called “Silent Spring” to help students in a rural farming community understand about overuse of pesticides. Getting the thank you from the teacher was such a warm fuzzy.

Then, speaking of warm fuzzy – I got an email announcing the new web site for TzuZoo at This is a dog rescue for ShihTzu breed dogs. It was only a few years ago I learned there are homeless dogs of every breed – gorgeous, friendly, sweet, huggable dogs. Why? Their owners die, or cannot keep them due to money challenges, or divorce, or owners get sick and families don’t want the dogs – all kinds of reasons. We rescued two ShihTzus from a family that had moved into their car due to economic conditions. So I decided to help by becoming a dog foster parent. Now I’ve seen our small, but effective rescue organization build their new web site which means more abandoned dogs will get new homes. I needed a couple of warm fuzzies today. Thank you to TzuZoo and DonorsChoose for allowing me to be part of a solution.