How to Thrive in a Slow Down

DSC04560I can remember watching the Twitterstream a couple of weeks ago as the global financial crisis deepened. Here in Australia, we sit on a strange timezone precipice, where as our Monday ends, it is just beginning in the US … and a small band of locals would stay up late just to watch the first few minutes of trade in New York. There is an odd sense that we are, in some small way, witnessing history in the making.

But while the macro story is being played out thousands of kilometres from my computer screen, the impact has yet to really hit. However, there are some things that businesses can do to begin focusing their marketing efforts right now, before the shockwaves seep into our businesses. John Rosen has an excellent and detailed post that advises an initial three steps:

1. Be clear about your strategic objectives. Understand the financial measures that you are focusing on, determine the most important long term relationships, maintain your product/experience viability and figure out which competitors you should attack directly.

2. Understand your brand from a competitive point of view. Look at where the value rests in both the competitive and non-competitive environments; and do the same from a premium brand offering perspective.

3. Re-evaluate and adjust your marketing. While this sounds obvious, check out John’s list of “Do’s and Don’ts”

Craig Wilson, however, suggests that we may well be at a turning point for both the types of marketing that we do and the agencies that we use to plan, create and execute. In this great, and far reaching post, Craig outlines the state of affairs, the issues at play and makes some suggestions for where we might be heading.

Social media may well be rising at the perfect time. As consumers grow increasingly weary of broadcast advertising, and have more control than ever over the media and content they wish to consume, social media offers a subtle new direction for marketers to build relationships and brand.

The social media revolution that we have been asking for, may well materialise more quickly than even Julian Cole would have anticipated. Not only do a variety of indicators suggest that digital and social media related marketing will increase (taken in large part from the traditional marketing budget), the economic circumstances will sharpen the focus of all marketers – ensuring that campaigns and promotions receive ever greater scrutiny. And with a bevy of measurement tools at hand, digital analytics are likely to become very popular on both client and agency sides.

So, how do we thrive in this slow down? Adapting to change … evolution … new thinking and innovation, of course. Think change management and business consulting mixed in with marketing. Think the end of your agency as you know it.

But don’t rush … take it in, for as Craig says:

We may really be at one of those unique times in history, a turning point that forces change and massive innovation. New economic realities will necessitate reinvention for old media and marketing businesses to stay relevant, and will result in the rise of new media options and new marketing thinkers.

Look around you, at the media landscape today, the agencies that feed them and the marketers whoa re their clients. Take it all in. Make a mental snapshot. It may be the last time it ever looks like this.

3 thoughts on “How to Thrive in a Slow Down

  1. great post Gavin. It frees me up to say what our new job is. Any agency that isn’t radically making suggestions for client survival is clinging on to the old model and parasitically incapable of exploiting the most exciting time to offer radical and fresh advice. Clients get the marketing they deserve and this is the time for bold moves.

  2. Absolutely spot on. I’m starting to talk to clients who think “why the hell are we spending $8,000,000 on a TVC campaign when we can spend 5% of that on a social media campaign and get better results”. A change is in the air and I’m loving it.

  3. However, Matt, I would not call it “campaign”. That to me smacks of different (cheaper) channel, same attitude 😉
    You have been writing thoughtful posts, Gavin. Thank you for the inspiration and ideas. When I only think that, you do not know that I am thinking that.

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