Friday, March 13, 2009

Time to Act Courageously

A colleague, Ken Jacobs, just posted a very thoughtful and inspiring piece as a guest blogger on the ThoughtLEADERS.LLC Blog. It is on leadership in these trying times, and is well worth the read. Check it out here.

A real shout-out to Ken Jacobs for (once again) hitting the nail squarely on the head.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time to "Re-Balance?"

OK, so the economy sucks, and we've all lost a good amount of money in our investment portfolios. And yet, a whole lot of television commercials, billboards, print ads and radio spots are hounding us about "re-balancing our portfolios."

It got me thinking. Shouldn't smart marketers also consider re-balancing their marketing budgets as a result of these trying economic times?

Just because you've ALWAYS done something one way doesn't mean you need to go on repeating the same thing over and over. Remember Einstein's definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

If you want to change your marketing results, it just may be time to re-balance your marketing portfolio.

Several new and existing clients have come to us recently asking us to take a look at their overall marketing expenditures. In every case we were able to point out a large number of wasted expenditures -- primarily advertising buys that remain on schedules because they've "always been there," or because "the ad rep buys me a bottle of Maker's Mark every Christmas."

But the world has changed. Unless you are confident that ALL of your marketing and communication expenditures are delivering a real return on your investment (and not just another cost headed straight to the wrong side of the balance sheet), it's probably time to change your way of thinking too.

In flush times, it's easy to just continue doing what you've always done, because, well, we were all making good money, right? And what "worked" from a marketing standpoint wasn't nearly as critical as it is now, during the "Great Recession."

I am 100% confident that a sound, strategic PR program delivers substantial ROI -- well in excess of its cost, and far greater than many advertising-heavy plans. Ping me if you want to learn more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

These are the Times that Try Men's Souls

With those famous words, Thomas Paine began his second-most famous paper, "The Crisis." The pamphlet was published at perhaps the darkest hour of the American Revolution, on December 23, 1776, at a time when Washington's Army was in disarray and popular support for armed insurrection against England was waining dramatically. American independence hung in the balance, and the world looked to see if the rag-tag assembly of disparate colonies could break away and establish a government based on the principles so eloquently articulated by Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence.

So why the history lesson? Because I can see many parallels to the precarious economic situation we find ourselves in today. With the constant barrage of bad news in the media about troubles at institutions that we once felt were rock-solid, with our life savings cut in half in a matter of a few short months (did anybody get the license number on that truck that hit us?) and with nothing but hope -- forget about faith -- in our government's ability to "do something about it," many of us are feeling that we may have reached the end of the "American Century." Yes, these are, once again, the times that try men's souls.

But like Paine in 1776, I have no doubt in the spirit and ability of America to weather this storm and to rise above our present crisis.

We must all summon our "inner Chumbawumba" -- get knocked down; get up again. Show personal leadership wherever you can. This is no time for, as Paine labeled it "the summer soldier" and "the sunshine patriot" who "will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country."

Let me get completely out of the way and let Paine have the last word.

"We have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."