November 10, 2009

Since we’re in marketing, we’re in the markets.

“This is all happening because my father didn’t buy me a train set as a kid.”
– WARREN BUFFETT, joking about his decision to buy a railroad, the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Corporation.
NY Times, November 3rd, 2009
Is this a sign the downturn’s up?’ Should we start studying Buffett’s other Rosebud-esque childhood stories? ‘Hey, his folks didn’t get him a junior insurance agent playset, so that explains GEICO!’
As we all know, the daily Dow, and all those market swings effect virtually every business, especially those involving antacid supplements. And while fixation isn’t helpful, paying attention to the trends makes business sense.
Colleagues and friends ask us what we’re seeing in our world, given marketing can be an indicator of C-suite outlook.
We’re noticing the obvious things:
• turnover at some companies makes getting back in-synch harder
• the struggling companies seem to shift back in an odd reliance on old ways vs fresh starts
• risk-aversion still rules at companies with slow/no-growth (self-fulfilling? most likely)
• well-run companies are acting smarter about how they’re spending — more thoughtful in decisions, yet moving like an opportunist
• smart companies are questioning value — not overall cost, but cost against the service
All told, these trends have actually led to more business for our business.
Why is that? And what are the lessons we’ve learned about what’s worked? Getting back to the basics of entrepreneurial structures, that start any business big or small, including:
• minimized overhead that can deliver optimal value AND a truly neutral structure and solution set
• efficient processes born of that minimized structure vs legacy systems
• personnel hiring that bring only those who are flexible and think like an entrepreneur given constant change in the marketplace
None of the above is news. really. But it’s amazing how the rapid growth era can take all but the smartest from going off track…Mr. Buffett.