Clearing a Passage through Today's "Frozen"
By Michael Dotson, CEO
WorkSmart Media Group
We are facing challenges in our economy the
likes of which have not been experienced in most of our lifetimes. News
stories seem to bounce from bad to worse to hope to despair, leaving
relatively rare moments of optimism and huge holes of uncertainty. The
primary result of this combined "gloom and doom" assault has rendered many
businesses paralyzed with a sense of fear for the present and the future.
Such paralysis has slowed the progress of even the most (formerly) dynamic
of companies to a crawl. Economists are left scratching their heads unsure
of what to do, and Marketing Departments for many companies appear to be
more preoccupied with job preservation than re-establishment of momentum. As
professionals, how do we "break away" from this stagnation and take
advantage of opportunities to grow our business?
1. Understand the Terrain
Wikipedia defines Trench Warfare as "a form of warfare where both combatants
have fortified positions and fighting lines are static". The key word here
is static. By recognizing and accepting that businesses have hunkered down
and that the static lines in our economy are likely to remain for the
foreseeable future, you can begin to develop a path that will enable your
business to move forward.
2. Recognize that Early Progress Could Be Agonizingly Slow
With a robust economy, success could not happen fast enough. In World War I,
forward tactical advancement had often been measured in feet or sometime
inches – so it is in the economic "trenches" of today. Given our current
situation, it may seem that everything is happening in slow motion. Your
business plan must take into consideration a reduced pace of progress.
Sustainable success can best be achieved through a series of small
3. Lose the Fear!
A good insurance salesperson knows that fear is a strong motivator. It is
also understood that fear is an emotion that needs to be brought under
control or it will lead to distress and high anxiety. This does not mean
that apprehension should be abandoned, but it does mean that your success
will be determined by how you deal with not only your fears, but your
approach in dealing with the fears of your customers, clients, and
competitors. The sense of fear will begin to move from the forefront as you
focus your attention on your immediate plan of action.
4. Be Different
There is a common adage that goes something like – performing the same
action repeatedly with the expectation of a different outcome is a
definition of insanity. What may have worked for us last year, last week, or
even yesterday may not work in today's economic climate. Take deliberate
steps to be different in your approach. Breaking from the routine will cause
you to begin looking at your business with a fresher perspective.
5. Be a Puzzle Solver
Sudoku and crosswords can be stimulating ways to pass time. Treating your
business as a puzzle to be solved can add a new dimension to your efforts.
Writing down specific problems to be solved then writing down your solutions
can often lead to unexpected and creative results.
6. Every Business Has a Story to Tell
Whether it is your business or your customer's, there is a story that needs
to be told. One of the best ways to get that story out is through the
creative use of Public Relations. PR does not have to be an expensive
proposition. PR companies are feeling the slowdown like everyone else, and
are looking for new clients like never before. Using their professional
services on a per event basis could give your business greater exposure with
minimal expense. Also, remember that a well crafted and timed Press Release
can reward you with huge dividends.
7. Make Technology Work for You
Nearly every business has a data base of email addresses – including yours.
These may consist of customers, clients, friends, or others whom you connect
with on a regular basis. Email Marketing is a proven cost effective way to
get your business message in front of your data base. There are many ways to
take advantage of this relatively new kind of marketing such as email blasts
or even the newest form of Email Marketing – emailable Video (Video
Brochures). To reach a larger audience, many companies offer opted in email
lists that can be quite specific for a given type of business or customer.
You should avoid bulk email lists, which are often associated with Spam
(very different than opted in pre-qualified lists). The creative use of
Email could become the most cost effective method for you to promote your
8. Direct Mail Still Works
Even with rising Postal costs, direct mail can be a very effective way to
get your message out to a broad area. A number of companies offer quality
mailing lists with relatively low cost. Keep in mind that when you decide to
do a bulk mail, your response will nearly always be a very small percentage
of the number of pieces that you mail out. Sometimes they can be a fraction
of a percent, but that is often enough to justify the expense.
9. Know Your Competition Better Than They Know You
Staying on top of your competition is now more important than ever. Rest
assured that your competitor's are experiencing the same economic anxiety as
you, and may be dealing with it in ways that you should be aware of. There
is much that you can learn by simply observing how your competitor's are
changing their approach to how they do business.
10. There is No Substitute for Homework!
The Internet is the single greatest research tool ever developed. A certain
part of every business day needs to be devoted to conducting research
online. By using the resources of the Internet daily, you will be able to
stay informed of the many subtleties pertaining to your business. You will
be able to learn about new products, technology, and other pertinent
information that can help give you a competitive edge. The Internet can also
provide a wealth of historical information regarding all aspects of your
business (and that of your competitor's).
Clearly, there is no single magic way out of our current economic mess. One
thing is certain – doing nothing will produce nothing and doing little will
produce little! But just like a Magician who diligently practices the
complexities of a new card trick until perfected, the result of you working
smart and paying attention to the little victories can bring a gasp from
your "Audience" and the resulting question "how did you do that?"
About the Author
Chief Executive Officer
WorkSmart Media Group
Worksmart Media Group was created to provide marketing assistance for small
to medium size companies. The original concept was to use our experience,
expertise, and networked resources to help businesses "work smarter".
With an extensive executive background in Consumer Electronics sales and
marketing, commercial video production, and electronics retailing, founder,
Michael Dotson, believed there were smarter ways for businesses to grow
utilizing outsourced marketing services and by taking advantage of Internet
advancements. The growth of broadband, combined with the progression of
video processing technology has opened the door to new ways for companies to
convey their message by using the "tried and true" method of full motion
video. These developments led to the concept of Small Format Videos (SFV)
for business - or what Michael began calling Video Brochures.