“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” – Dale Carnegie
If Dale Carnegie was correct, it is persistence that has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. That in turn has dumped cold water on enthusiasm and left your great “horse sense” with nothing to do!
All you hear is that customers are canceling meetings and sending workers home. Schools are fighting to stay closed as governments want them open. The only thing that is selling is PPE. Etc., etc., etc.!
A late July report by TradePub.com that was based on a detailed survey of CEOs and corporate presidents had some surprising information that seems to indicate that the doom and gloom we hear and read daily might not reflect what is actually happening in the marketplace. Let’s start with the obvious, 53% say that PPE availability in the workplace will become normal. 65% specifically state that hand sanitizer will be available. Continuing to sell PPE appears to be a sure thing – except – prices are dropping very quickly and everyone is selling it. We now have to compete with Amazon selling at or below our best industry nets and throwing in free shipping.
The survey also showed that 58% say a verbal ‘hello’ will replace handshakes.
There is a lot more in the report, but what is most important to us is that only 22% say they are reducing advertising and marketing budgets. At the same time 21% say they are increasing those same budgets. And guess what – when we aren’t selling face masks we are actually part of the advertising and marketing these people are talking about!
With essentially the same budgets (basically the 2019 budget as the pandemic short circuited this year’s spend) your clients will be looking for creative ideas to contact their customers, prospects, and employees – especially employees that continue to work from home. Events, sales meetings, conventions, and many smaller gatherings may take time to get back on the calendar, but alternative marketing communications are essential to continue.
A corporation scheduling an online meeting with their employees might send a promotional item as an invitation/reminder to attend the virtual meeting. Sending a client or prospect a well chosen item is a great way to ask for a phone call. Putting a 2 oz hand sanitizer in a 6-pack/lunch cooler is a $5.00 way to tell your clients you are ready to help them market their business. You might end up doing the exact same promotion for them! While we should always be working to meet the objective a client is desiring, in the current marketplace pitching a couple of great ideas can have a stimulating effect.
Persistence can’t be emphasized too much. If in the past you waited for your clients to reach out to you – that has changed. Your competitors are calling them every day. Human nature says that your customers would rather continue to work with you, but if you are not persistent, pitching ideas, informing clients of specials they might have interest in or just checking on them to be sure they are staying healthy – they might not be your customers for long!
While situations can change in an instant, it appears that there will be a vaccine around the 4th quarter which will give a substantial boost to the marketplace. Year end holiday corporate gifts will have a very strong impact on brand building. After a rough year in many personal and business lives, good news along with a well selected corporate gift can lead to strong business in 2021.
Stay well and stay persistent.