Survival Strategies – Marketer Article

In my recent posting Survival Strategies for 2008 (and Beyond) I provided a quick excerpt on Randy Pollock’s article in the April edition of Marketer on “Making the Most of an Economic Downturn.” Over the past week I have heard from many of you that wanted to read the article in its entirety.

I was able to connect with Randy this last week and received his permission to post a .pdf of the article on this website.  Thank you again Randy for a great article, and to the many marketing experts that also contributed to the article. 

Let me again share with you several more of my favorite quotes from the article from top some marketers on responding to changing market conditions:

“One word comes to mind when I think about how to address the impact of a potential slower economy on our industry: FOCUS on all of the marketing activities of the firm, on business development pursuits, and where marketing dollars would be best spent.”
J. Rossi, Burt Hill, Philadelphia, PA

“Keep your focus: It’s positioning for the change and being there for the client and his business.”
Harlan Hallquist, FSMPS 

Eight guidelines for business/marketing success

boat crewMark Buckshon, the President of Construction News and Report Publishing Inc., discusses several of his personal ‘lessons learned’ regarding marketing and management in has recent blog Eight guidelines for business/marketing success (or eight lessons learned the hard way).  Below are four of the eight lessons (my favorites)…  a quick visit to his site is well worth the time to read the other four.

“…From 20 employees and publications in five Canadian and U.S. cities, we were briefly down to one part-time employee. The painful failure and surprising resurgence have taught me some important lessons about business. The school of hard knocks can, indeed, teach us some important lessons.

You need to connect face-to-face with your community and market

For years, some of our salespeople insisted on doing everything by phone — or, in the rarecases when they would meet someone, the meeting had a sales purpose in mind. Our editor would go out to some events but in the latter stages, as cutbacks intensified and demoralization set in, he started relying as well on the phone and press releases! Bad move. Face-to-face contact without worrying about or forcing the actual sale is really important in business, especially these days when so much is conducted online and by email. When you see people, you get feedback, interaction, mutual respect, and new ideas. Get out there.

Your employees need a mixture of freedom and accountability (with the emphasis on freedom)

Pure unbridled freedom invites abuse and abuse by one employee can spread to others, resulting in a breakdown of order and priorities. Equally, employees are adults and should be treated that way — I respect the people who work in our organization to be able to think for themselves, solve problems without running to the boss, and respond swiftly when something isn’t right. In exchange they don’t need me breathing down their backs.

Have systems but remember people, ideas, and clients make the business work

We obviously have systems, but are not bound in knots by policy rules and directives. Take for example our travel policy. You can stay where you like, eat what you want, and do what you like — just use common sense and think about it as if you are spending your own money. Once, for fun, I bought a full fare business class ticket for a key employee so we could go to the airline lounge and sip on a few drinks. We then refunded the ticket, and hopped on another flight with a discount airline. We won’t do that every trip, but I shudder to think about how that would fit within any ‘travel policy’.

Have fun

When business becomes (mostly) unpleasant work, change things so that you can enjoy yourself again. I can’t see anything worse than being stuck in a dead-end and demoralizing space because you need the money to survive. I realize that not everyone has this freedom, but I think we can all take at least small steps to gain control and have some satisfaction in our work. As an employer, I want to be sure that this company’s employees, most of the time, really enjoy what they are doing. This is common business — and marketing — sense, because if the employees are happy they will interact with current and potential clients with the same level of enthusiasm and, indeed, that is the best way to find new business and grow the current one.”

Survival Strategies for 2008 (and Beyond)

Randy Pollock of Walter P Moore wrote a great article in the April edition of SMPS Marketer on “Making the Most of an Economic Downturn.”  Specifically, Randy identifies five strategies that you can take now to respond to the changing market conditions.  Here is a summary of those strategy recommendations:

  1. Client Care – A strategy that positions your clients – and the depth and quality of your relationship with them.
  2. Focus/Targeting – A strategy that positions your firm – with its singular focus on targeted clients, markets, and projects.
  3. Fundamentals – A strategy that positions your marketing operations, procedures, and processes and revisits your fundamentals.
  4. Internal Marketing – A strategy for growing a firm from the inside out, internal marketing focuses on the people inside a firm.
  5. Diversification – A strategy that intentionally broadens your services, markets, and/or geographical locations.

Randy also provides quotes on survival approaches from top marketers on how they are responding to the changing market conditions.  Here are some of my favorites:

“In my experience the only cure is to get out of the office and meet someone, every day if possible.  It starts with our existing customers.” – Harlan Hallquist – J.E. Dunn Construction

 “Now is a good time to meet with your best clients, one on one.  Discuss their problems and how they intend to weather the storm.  Discuss working together to solve problems.  Provide seminars with subjects and speakers that address the client’s problems as well as serve our business for insight into future opportunities.” – Dianne Schachner – LEO A. DALY

“Internal marketing is a strategy for growing a firm from the inside out, focusing on the people inside a firm.  A continuous, participative process, it fosters communication, training, and motivation of employees – principally those with client contact, but support employees as well.  It requires leadership, direction, planning, and constant focus.  Its sole focus is inside a firm, targeted to the people who perform the work – mobilizing their energies and motivation their pursuit of shared goals – and shared rewards.” – Randy Pollock, Walter P Moore

 “Become even closer to them (your clients) in lean times.  See if you can create a project that provides intensive value-added return to the client organization.”  Dennis Schrag – The Longview Group