U.S. businesses are sitting on unprecedented amounts of capital right now. In many sectors, business has generally come back enough to make a little money. Not enough to hire people again. And certainly not enough to spend some of it on marketing. Perish the thought! So how about a stimulus plan for marketing? Whether you’re in an agency or the marcom department of a corporation or non-profit, here are some things you can do to jump-start the process:
- Random acts of kindness
This is the brainchild of Jane Fields, a friend and colleague of mine. And I think it’s brilliant. Do something nice for a client or for your business in general (if you’re the marketing department). Out of the blue! Take coffee and donuts to their sales staff. Just show up and wash the windows of their store front. Produce some bandit signs and put them up (and take them down according to your local ordinances) to direct people to their location. Don’t linger. And don’t make a big deal about it. Just make it clear to them that you want to do something to help them.
- Propose a budget
Crazy, right? You keep hearing that marketing is cut. On hold. No money. Propose something anyway. Spend some time. Make sure it makes sense. Be sure it’s very concretely connected with ROI. Get on the calendar of the right person. And put it out there. Don’t just wait for the right time. Make the right time. You never know.
- Do some competitive research
What’s the competition doing? I bet some of them are active. Why is that? What do they know that you don’t know? Wouldn’t that be invaluable information? Wouldn’t it be great if that actually lead to a new initiative?
- Low cost is better than no cost
Ok. So your normal budget is shot. Forget the paradigm. What can be done on the cheap? Haven’t tried social media yet? This is the perfect time. Could a small amount of PR dollars make a big splash right now? Maybe so. What could you do for the least amount of money that would make the biggest impact?
- Plan for the future, then work back to today
If not now, then when? Indefinitely on hold is no way to plan for the future. Make a plan. Set a date. Change it as often as Diddy changes his name. It doesn’t matter. But don’t accept being on hold. And once you figure out when things can happen, work backwards to today. I bet the preparation could make for a pretty substantial to-do list. And take that time to do it right.
I hate limbo. And that’s what I’m seeing a lot of in marketing right now. Don’t accept it. Maybe some of us have gotten past the “Rage against the dying of the light” phase. But now the light is frustratingly flickering and just not coming on. Give it some more juice! Marketing and communications is a powerful force for business change. Use it!