As marketers and businesspeople, we like to think we’re in charge of our own destiny. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s part of human nature. No matter who or where we are, we like to think of controlling our destiny. We plan. We forecast. We evaluate and reevaluate. Ultimately, we expect things to work out as planned. But if we’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s that we need to plan for the unexpected. There are many things beyond our control. The true “control” comes in how we choose to respond.
This week, I attended the APWA Snow Conference in Milwaukee. It was painfully clear to manufacturers in the snow industry that there is an element of their destiny well beyond their control – Weather! With the record warm temperatures and low precipitation this year, manufacturers and service providers in that market received an unexpected jolt back to that painful reality. Adding to that difficult awakening was the failed forecasts of everything from the Farmers Almanac to forecaster after forecaster who predicted record snowfall and an incredibly harsh winter.- Consider this: We went from a winter last year in which 49 out of 50 states received snow, to this year where virtually no state had snow of any significance. And with uncertainty in what next year’s weather may hold, it requires making some basic business decisions on faith.
When the economy overall, or even one industry’s sales are down, one thing quickly finds its way to the crosshairs – Marketing budgets. The natural inclination is to start looking for ways to trim
expense. Unfortunately, for many large companies, marketing is viewed as an expense. But dating back as far as the Great Depression and the success of Proctor and Gamble in selling Ivory soap by continuing its marketing efforts, to recent examples like the success of the Wal-Mart “Always The Low Price Campaign” after the dot com bubble burst, investing in marketing when your competitors are retreating has proven to be a successful business-building approach. That positive effect puts companies ahead, not just for the initial year but for several years to follow.
It’s time to change the mindset from viewing marketing as an expense to realizing its importance as an investment. The key is relevant marketing. And so, I’ll use this blog to kick off a complete series on building relevance in your marketing campaign. More detailed entries providing tips and instructions will follow. In the meantime, tell me how your business has approached difficult times within your market segment.