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INsight #168 - Not in the Plan

Updated: Jan 14

FULL DISCLOSURE: This was not going to today’s topic.


Last Thursday evening, Americans, and the world, were greeted with the news of the killing of two very high level Iranians in Iraq by an American military drone. Regardless of your politics, this is going to have potential marketing repercussions.

It’s ironic that last week we closed out 2019 writing about “Prevailing Winds and Shifting Currents,” warning readers to prepare for new realities. I suggested that marketing teams needed to be prepared to PIVOT and to PAY ATTENTION. This attack was not one of the new marketing realities I forecasted

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This turn of events was not in the plan. 2020 was going to have many challenges and even more opportunities. Now, the challenges may have changed, and marketing teams may need to regroup.


INsight #1: What do these global political actions mean for your brand’s marketing? At this time, no one really knows. The impeachment process further divided Americans who were already camped out in their respective tribes. However, the impeachment scenario didn’t seem to be impacting anyone other than political nerds and talking heads on CNN and FOX News. This new turn of events, which none of us saw coming, may put a more serious, and possibly immediate, marketing stress on a lot of brands, depending on how it plays out. It’s possible every B2B, B2C and D2C category will be impacted.


Be prepared for the ripple effect. It began hours after the announcement. Brent crude prices jumped 4% which is equivalent to the market’s reaction to a 5 million barrel-per-day disruption, according to Saturday’s Morning Brew. The Brew continues, “While elevated oil prices aren’t necessarily a bad thing for the economy, they can cause stress outside the energy sector. Airline stocks, for example, fell Friday because fuel accounts for a disproportionate amount of costs. And drivers are always keeping one eye on the wheel and another on gas prices. But here’s the thing...we don’t know whether higher prices will be sustained. It all depends on Iran’s next move.”


INsight #2: Prepare a new marketing plan – just in case. No matter what their politics, buyers will become nervous and cautious. That has the potential of depressing sales. That means every brand is at risk, and that could lead to negative outcomes for brands. The new plans need to develop positive dynamics to promote brand sales in a time of marketplace uncertainty.


The primary focus of a new marketing plan should be to reinforce your brand’s RETENTION efforts. If you are launching a new brand, you need to accelerate its go-to-market strategy. This leads to remembering a primary focus of previous INsights. STAY CONNECTED. It also means reviewing your messaging strategy. Just repeating the same messages may not be productive when your customers are wondering what the next bombshell is going to be in these uncharted territories. This is when refining your EndGame strategy is so important.


INsight #3: Gain as much marketplace business “intel” as possible from a variety of sources and, most importantly, keep refreshing it. Pick up the phone and begin talking to clients and suppliers again. This is not the time to send emails or texts. Sensing shifts in your market before your competitors do will be critical to adjusting your communications and messaging plans.

Don’t limit your intelligence gathering to just this one potential confrontation. There are multiple forces all at play affecting buying patterns and habits: Impeachment clouds. Tariffs that have impacted American manufacturing growth, leading some economists to believe America is already in a manufacturing recession. New 2020 laws and deregulations may add more stress to the buying process. The impact on every business will be different. Be prepared.


Like I said, this was not today’s original topic. Begin planning now because if any of these current threats do not materialize, you’ll be better prepared for whatever is next. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to check my iPhone to see what may have just happened. That will determine if I buy more wine, or gas up the car and get out of town.


The EndGame: New thinking. New vision. New energy


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