Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. With 200 million copies sold, it is among the most famous works of fiction. You probably had to read it in junior high or high school. You don’t really even need to re-read it if you remember the famous opening line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”
When we started our agency in 1993, the economy then, like now, wasn’t very strong. The first half of 1993 saw growth in the Gross Domestic Product of just 1.3 percent.
If I had ten dollars from every person who told me it was a terrible time to start a business, I wouldn’t have had to invest my life savings and still borrow money. But I always countered with “Have you read A Tale of Two Cities?” Then followed with the infamous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”
When it comes to marketing, the truth is that it is always the best and worst of times. Even if you have a mature product, there are people out there who need and want your products and services. If not, you would already be out of business.
What has dramatically changed is the way we reach our target audiences. The Internet has spawned the Information Age. Lengthy printed product catalogs are a thing of the past. Up-to-the-minute product information can be posted on corporate websites, where potential customers have easy access to getting the information they need to evaluate and specify your product or service.
Think of a website as a 24-7 salesperson who can answer almost every question about your products and services, as well as refute mis-information.
Social networking is also changing the way we feel about major brands like Coca-Cola and ABC News. It can influence your B2B marketing, too.
Networks liked LinkedIn can tell you exactly how many connections stand between you and the top prospect you have identified as a good match for your product or service. It may take a little work to get the introduction, but as the old saying goes, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
Today’s databases make niche marketing effective to subsets as small as 25 or 30 prospects. In some ways, it’s never been easier to reach a target audience.
So when you’re moaning about how your sales are the worst in recent times, remember that it’s also the best time to embrace new marketing strategies and tools. The marketplace has changed. Marketers must do the same.