Friday, January 23, 2009

Family and Friends Trump Recession Woes

It’s hard to ignore the relentless onslaught of bad economic news. If you’re in the Midwest, it’s also hard to ignore the relentless onslaught of winter weather.

Even though it’s a new year, with a new president, it may take a little more effort to look on the bright side.

Businesses are struggling. Money is tight. The holidays are over. And backs are sore from shoveling snow.

Nevertheless, we’re determined to put it all into perspective. After all, conditions will improve. They always do. And in the meantime, we can choose to focus not on what’s wrong, but on everything that’s right.

I’m not just talking about looking for silver linings in the economic news—although there are some to be found. For one, we should be thankful for every last customer or client. And how about those gas prices (even though they’ve begun to inch up again)?

But much more importantly, consider the bright side that’s always there, no matter the economy or the weather or anything else: our families and our friends.

We draw strength from each other in difficult times, and we share the joyful days just the same.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Resolve to Join the Conversation Online

We’re all trying to grow business without spending too much money. Good thing we have the Internet. Because online, there are all kinds of low-cost opportunities to reach more prospective customers and engage them like never before.

In this unkind economy, you owe it to the future of your company to explore how social networks, blogs, wikis and the like might fit in with your business objectives.

But for most businesses, especially in the B2B realm, Web 2.0 is uncharted territory. So, to get started, the Wall Street Journal has a helpful primer, The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World. The piece contains insights and advice from experienced web marketing types.

One key takeaway happens to be one of the most difficult aspects to grasp about the online environment: that the online community directs the conversation. You can’t force the flow, but you can interact with more people and in more ways than ever.

That’s why the WSJ article’s final pointer is also probably the most important: Embrace experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try things out. But along the way, keep analyzing whether the results you’re achieving support your overall strategy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marketing Efforts Must Begin with Accountability

Advertising Age’s Michael Fassnacht has a great column titled “Producing Accountability in Hard Times.”

In these days in which even U.S. Senators are clamoring for accountability for TARP Funds, Michael’s message should be heeded by anyone involved with marketing and sales communication expenditures.

My strong beliefs about being accountable for results shouldn’t be that surprising to readers of this blog. See, for instance, this post on the ROI/accountability conversation from 2006.