Help for Marketers Dealing with the “New Different”

My friend and marketing research colleague Chris Bonney has written a thought-provoking white paper, The View from the Front, in which he shares his impressions and suggestions for navigating what he calls the “New Different” marketplace.

As I’m highlighting just a few excerpts here, I encourage you to read the complete paper. Better yet, share it within your organization and use it to spark discussion, especially on how to compete successfully in the new year and beyond.

Advice for Marketers and Business Leaders

  • “You can’t sit this recession out. Despite the obvious reasons for tightening your belt, this is not the time to be timid … Let your competitors sit this one out. Let them allow consumers to forget about them by not communicating regularly, or by taking ‘safer’ approaches in their products, pricing, and marketing communications. Market share you pick up now is going to reflect in your bottom line when you need it most.”
  • Stop playing the victim. Before long, someone’s going to make a breakthrough that’s going to put us all to shame. It’ll become obvious that while we were staying the course, whoever’s behind this breakthrough will have been working hard to figure out where the winds are and sail ahead. I don’t want to be embarrassed by this. Do you?”
  • You’ve still got to get close to the consumer [and] Get out. Ask Questions. Listen.You can only do so much of this by e-mail, Instant Message or Facebook or Twitter. You’ve got to get close and in a context where there’s time and safe space for the consumer to unwind, explain and give you the kind of context and color that tells you how to connect with them.”
  • You’ve got to constantly re-invent [and] Don’t kill the creatives. They can be found in every one of your departments if you’ll just let them loose to push the edges, test the limits, stretch the envelope and otherwise provoke you with new, scary ideas. Tempting as it may be to consider such people nonessential during tough times … they can be the sources of your future success.”

According to Chris,

“Perhaps the biggest challenge facing many organizations, and the most important thing you can do to successfully embrace the New Different is to learn to let go and be brave in developing new ideas, new products, new services and new ways of distributing your ideas, products, and services. Use the technologies of today. Respect the changing consumer perspective. And recognize that by the time you’ve done all this conditions will have probably changed again. That’s how it is these days.”

And I imagine that’s how it will be for quite a while.

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