The Chinese have an animal name for each year, but I proclaim that 2009 was the Year of the Ostrich. Hallelujah and jubilation, it is almost over. I work in Business Development here at Hacker and have been in sales and marketing for more years than I like to admit. This has been the roughest year in my memory and has been called the toughest since the headline appeared October 30, 1929, “WALL ST LAYS AN EGG”. It must have been an ostrich egg because the first six months of the year many marketing executives had their heads buried in the sand, or maybe just hiding under their desks. I felt like the Maytag repair person: No one to talk to, everyone scared, in hiding. One contact said she could not talk to me today because they just announced 42,000 layoffs and “I have some fires to put out today.”Gives you an idea what Business Development is facing.
Is your head buried in the sand? What that does is leave your backside VERY vulnerable. Competitors will be pouncing on your customers and prospects while you think you are playing it safe.By summer, folks started to face reality that the world was not ending, the sky was not falling and, lo and behold, they began to talk. They were not ready to act but at least they would talk to us. We switched from the Year of the Ostrich to the Year of the Dragon. Every meeting, every action, every decision seemed to Drag On. As Bears owner George Halas was known to do, they “threw nickels around like manhole covers.” Marketers facing smaller budgets, smaller departments and perhaps the threat of losing their own jobs, became extremely cautious, watching every penny spent and wanting to know what it was doing for them immediately. Well, folks, that’s why direct marketing is so hot right now, everything can be tracked, measured and analyzed to measure ROI.
Be gone Dragon, Damn the Torpedoes and Full Speed ahead!
We are in a unique period in history. Never in the last 234 years as a nation has there been such a shake-up of marketing executives and personal. Almost every company in America has different marketing management in new positions seeking new ideas as we enter a recovery year in 2010. What a great time to be in Business Development as these new execs seek proven ways to keep the business they have and acquire new customers.
Marketing execs in America, my advice to you is to explode out of the gates in 2010. Your competitors might just be reading this, too! Either you are part of the steamroller or you will be part of the pavement. If you are content coasting, you are sliding down a hill.
2009 is gone. To all a New Year’s toast: “To your health and a safe and prosperous explosive 2010!”