|It’s Not Just the Economy (Stupid)|
|Written by Del Breckenfeld - Author|
|Sunday, 03 May 2009 16:45|
I am paraphrasing the line given to presidential candidate Bill Clinton by his campaign’s lead strategist, James Carville. This phrase turned around Clinton’s floundering campaign by focusing on one line that the public could identify with and, of course, the rest became history. My reworking is not aimed at the general public, but at the marketers who continue to use the economy as an excuse why their company’s sales are down. That may work for sales departments, but not for marketing departments. Why? Because as soon as sales lag(for any reason I might ad), that’s when the true marketing professionals aggressively look for other opportunities. The telltale sign that marketing is not working is when a company’s sales decrease mirrors the industry as a whole. For instance, the beleaguered General Motors continued to promote SUVs long after the public thirst for them had dried up, then they were blindsided by the implosion of the economy. A tsunami of economic woes for GM, but one only has to look at Ford to see that their drop is not as precipitous as the car industry in general. A major reason I believe, is that Ford aggressively promoted their “lifestyle” through their Mustang model which has always created a “halo” effect for all their emblems.
The real point of this is that marketers (myself included) have to realize that you can only use the economy as an excuse for “same old, same old” marketing for so long before they find themselves out of a job, or worse yet, their company out of business. This is the time for looking into non-traditional means for marketing, and when I say non-traditional, I am including all new types of media that give marketers much more resources to promote their products than ever before. For instance, a recent story that dominated the media was when actor/celebrity Ashton Kutcher raced CNN to see who would be the first to attract 1 million followers to their Twitter account. Ashton edged out CNN, and then it was reported that CNN hadn’t actually owned their own account until a few days earlier. Previously, it was created and maintained by British web developer James Cox. CNN quickly brought him to Atlanta to acquire it and then hired Cox to run it. A similar thing happened to Coke with its Facebook page that had acquired a million fans. The problem was that it wasn’t run by Coca-Cola – it was actually created by two Los Angeles entertainment people. Coke took a page from CNN and hired the duo to run the page which now has in excess of 3 million fans. Just a few months ago, bloggers were challenging Coke why they were not on Twitter so you see; even the largest companies have to demand that their marketing teams stay current with the timeswhen it comes to new marketing ops.
I find it hard to believe that CNN and Coca-Cola were not aware of Twitter and Facebook’s power, so it’s just possible that CNN and Coke knew about the fan sites and let them test the waters and do the heavy lifting before committing their resources. What really matters is that they are now experiencing what new media can do for their brands. A whole book could be written on this subject, and I have blogged in the past about David Meerman Scott’s “World Wide Rave” which makes a indisputable case for embracing the new media opportunities essential for promoting brands in this brave new world of marketing. To all the marketers that still want to use the economy as an excuse, I can only say, you better sharpen that resume’.