By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
Chris Motley (2nd on the left) around the time his band signed a record deal.
A Four-Part Series: Part 2
Did you know that now is the best time to ramp up your marketing efforts? Here’s proof: In 2008, McDonald's cut their advertising while Pizza Hut and Taco Bell didn’t. McDonalds lost 28% of the market share; Pizza Hut increased sales by 61% and Taco Bell by 40%.
But how do we go about doing that, with all the craziness going on right now? What do I DO? What DON’T I do?
I recently interviewed Chris Motley to get answers to these questions.
And he’s a Rockstar in his own right, literally. In his past life, he toured the country with several rock bands. Take a look at this video for a recent taste of his music. And that’s him in the picture above (second on the left) around the time his band signed a record deal.
Now he’s turned his creative mindset toward marketing with his own company, Motley Creations.
I think you’ll love Chris’ insights, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
Kathy: You’ve been in the marketing field for several decades now, so you’ve experienced first-hand the ups and downs of the business world. From your perspective, what are the Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing?
DON’T: Panic Or Get Stuck In Your Head
What you shouldn't do it is believe the negative talk in your own brain.
DO: Reduce Anxiety Levels
Take time for yourself when you get stressed. A few days ago, I got some bad news. For me, I have to believe in something bigger than me. I have to have some kind of faith to get through this kind of stuff. So, it was three o'clock in the afternoon and I just shut off my computer and meditated a little bit, prayed and then took the rest of the day off, which I think is OK. But if you're doing that every day, that's a problem, right? You cannot lay down and wait for opportunity. Don’t get stuck in your head.
You also want to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Get whatever financial aid you need, start addressing all your clients and look at it from other angles. What else can I do for them? If there's nothing there, then think what else can I do to make money. I heard a quote just recently something like: there’s no such thing as downtime or free time. There's just time. So get going. I needed to hear that.
I have people in my life that keep me accountable. They're the kind of people who will tell me the truth, and it’s not always what I want to hear. And I have to have that. Anybody in business should have that, maybe a coach or a mentor. It’s OK to feel sorry for yourself for ten minutes. Then get over it.
Kathy: I’m laughing, because I so relate! I have a couple of mentors who keep me on track. I definitely wouldn’t be moving forward in my personal or business life without their help!
What’s another DON’T and perhaps a DO associated with that?
DON’T: Stop Advertising
Don’t do what one of my clients wanted to do. They were going to stop sending out newsletters and doing this and that. And you don't want to stop all that. You still want to fill the market. You don't want someone else to fill that need for your content.
History has proven that down times are a great time to advertise.
DO: Pivot Your Advertising
It's a different kind of advertising. You're not saying how great I am. You're trying to address the person, not the company. “This is who I am. I’m an expert in my field. I'm going to be the voice of reason for you.”
Since not very many people are advertising right now, my business has tailed off. So you can do something like what I'm doing. I’m partnering with another person to do webinars on how to have coffee meetings online. It’s not generating the money, but it's basically presenting me to these people so that when times get better and they're ready to spend money on marketing, I'm going to be one of the first ones I think about. It's going to swing back. The pendulum will swing back.
Kathy: I agree!
What are some more DO’s?
DO: Change How We Communicate With Customers
There are a lot of scared people out there. We should be the ones to step up and be the voice of reason right now. For example, two or three of my clients are terrified, just terrified. And I've spoken to them over and over and have sent encouraging emails. And I told him, “I'm not charging you for this and I'm trying to encourage you to be an expert in your field.” Because human beings, God bless them, human beings get scared. And what they do is they buy up all the toilet paper or all the hand sanitizer or all the masks so that the people who are actually needing them can’t find them. And God bless him. It's just beer. Right? So what I've told my clients is this—it’s your job to be the voice of reason.
This is what I tell them: “This is what you should do. Calm down. Just do this right now and breathe. This will pass.”
This builds an underlying foundation of trust. I've had clients for decades, and the ones that stay with me are the ones where something went wrong, I’ve done this: “Yeah, it’s my fault. How do I make this right?” And I extend them a discount window. Those people are the ones who are loyal. They may start price chopping, but hopefully they'll come back, saying, “You’re not the cheapest, but you’re the best.”
So it's the same kind of principle. If you help them in times of duress, that’s the best marketing there is, because you’ve marketed to the person’s needs and not the company’s.
Kathy: I agree! What’s your next “DO”?
DO: Change the Way We Address Potential Prospects
The world needs helpers right now. It’s not time to be the super big moneymaker. If you're in a financial sector, tell them what they should do with their money. If you're in the exercise sector, show them ways that they can work out with their husband or wife or children. Parents and children are stuck at home, so any kind of content you can put out there to help, that meets them where they are at, is good.
It'll all come back. Just stay at the forefront. You stay in people's minds. When it breaks, and it will, it’ll be like a pendulum that’s going to swing way back. And if you help the person, that person is going to definitely want you to help your business. People are going to be like: “Let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go.” And you want to be at the front of that line when they start making those decisions, right?
Kathy: Exactly! So when they are ready to start working, they’re going to call Chris Motley or Kathy Kent Toney.
What’s your next DO?
DO: Take Time to Get to Know People
One of the things that I've learned to do, especially with meetings like they are now, is looking people up online. Take time to get to know the person if you don't know them well. This is research, in a large way, because we now have a huge digital footprint. And it's getting larger, because nobody can leave the house. So if I have a meeting with a potential prospect, I'm going to go look on their Facebook, at their LinkedIn—whatever I can find on them. And then talk to them as a person instead of sell, sell, sell, sell. And that's way, way different for me now, because I'm used to paying attention to body language when I meet with people in person.
Kathy: Yes, we’ve all definitely had to adapt how we interact with people these days. So, if you had to come up with a final DO, what would that be?
DO: Be Agile
In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about business being a giant flywheel. You have to get that thing moving. And once it's moving, it’s easier just to keep it moving. If it stops again, it takes all kinds of effort to get moving again, so don't let it stop. If it slows down, that's OK. Just keep it moving and adapt.
Here’s what I’m doing right now. Since business has slowed down for me, I am building a stable of copywriters in case people come to me to put out a bunch of content, which hasn’t been my focus in the past. I'm looking at a standard way to do it.
Here’s another example. I saw a documentary where a business owner’s business just stopped completely. They saw that this delivery stuff is very, very important now. So they put up a temporary website and the guy started making food deliveries out of his own car. He wears a mask and gloves, picks up food and brings it to people at their houses and things like that.
Businesses have to think like that now. Think about what's in front of you. And do what you can do.
Kathy: Yeah, exactly. Meeting customer needs. That's what it's all about.
Well, we’ve reached the end of our time together. Thank you, Chris, for all the great advice. I believe your insights will really speak to a lot of people today. Not just Marketers, but what you’ve shared can apply to anybody right now.
Chris: Glad to be of service.
Stay tuned for my next blog on how to effectively prospect for new customers during down times. Our special guest will be Breandan Filbert.
By Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
A Four-Part Series: Part 1
What am I supposed to do next? I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves this question during this new season of unknowns. If you're not sure what your next steps should be, you've come to the right place!
To help you find answers to this question, I'm launching a four-part blog series covering topics to help you thrive, not just survive, during these uncertain times. These articles will contain interviews of my trusted business colleagues on subjects such as Strategy, Sales, Marketing and Digital Transformation. The goal is to give you ideas that you can implement right away!
The first topic is Strategy. I recently interviewed Dawn Zerbs of Dawn Celeste, a firm focused on Strategy Execution, to get some ideas on how we can best navigate the days ahead. And she's well qualified to speak on this subject! Her background includes a broad range of functions including: General Business and Leadership, Change Management, Communications, Strategy, Operations, Technology Implementations, Marketing and Business Development.
Dawn's been a great help to my business as an Advisory Board member, so it was a no-brainer to choose Dawn for this week’s topic.
Kathy: So, what do we do next in our businesses, to not only survive, but thrive?
Dawn: There are a number of things, but I think the best approach is to look at three areas or “buckets”.
1. Determine What Your Customers Need
If you provide event rentals and glassware for restaurants (not in high demand right now!), listen, ask and anticipate what customers need during this time. They likely have needs that are completely outside of your business. That’s okay. Don’t bother them, but also don’t underestimate the power of being there and listening. Who knows, you may find that you know someone else that can meet their needs!
2. Focus on Your Core Competencies
Ask yourself how you might pivot your core skills to meet a current need. A great example is what some schools are doing right now since they’re not in session—offering free meals to low-income families. Many manufacturers and other businesses are pivoting to meet immediate needs as well. Get creative!
Kathy: I just saw a great example of this on YouTube today. A meat and seafood food supplier who typically supplies 90% of their food to restaurants is now selling single-serving portions to the public. It just takes a little bit of ingenuity!
Kathy: So what’s the last bucket?
Dawn: This is an important one--
3. Think About Your Team
How you approach this depends on what you learn from your customers and a review of your competencies. If you can’t pivot, think about how you can continue to help your people.
And here’s a bonus tip--look at your options. Start by talking to a banker to see if you qualify for programs or go check out available assistance programs through the SBA. If you don’t, figure out ways you can support your employees with a good dose of compassion.
One thoughtful way to support your team is find a great recruiter. For instance, one recruiter, Brian Price with Morgan Hunter is giving away free advice during this time.
Kathy: I love your “three buckets.” Any closing advice?
Dawn: Yes. Take the long view. This interim will be really hard, but think what the business will look like after this if over, e.g., do we start another business, pivot, etc. It’s so important not to not make decisions while in panic-mode.
Finally, give yourself grace. Take it easy on yourself as you navigate this new territory.
Kathy: We could definitely all use a little extra grace!
Thanks for your time, Dawn. I think this information will resonate with a lot of people.
Dawn: My pleasure!
I hope this was helpful! Stay tuned for a new topic next week. I’ll be interviewing a special guest who will discuss Marketing Do’s and Don’ts during the “new normal” we’re living in.