Right now, it seems like everyone is in full retreat because of the virus. I get it. Times feel uncertain. Some businesses are impacted harder than others. I’m in advertising. A few weeks ago, things were great. Now, that’s not the case.
Does anyone believe that the conditions caused by this virus will last forever? Of course not. This too will pass. This is NOT the New Normal. When everything does return to normal, one thing I know for sure is that the decisions being made right now will dictate both your immediate recovery and your future growth.
We’ve all got a choice to make. We can retreat or we can charge ahead.
A few weeks ago, I attended a sales seminar. It was taught by a guy name Derron Steenbergen. During one part of the seminar, we did a group participation exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to show how people are constantly entering and exiting the buying cycle for goods and services. The stages of a buying cycle typically include a person realizing they have a problem (I need a new mattress because my back hurts), consideration of options (Do I want a pillow-top, a memory foam mattress, how much do I want to spend, who do I buy from, etc.), making a decision to shop and the purchase (Let’s go to some stores and buy a new bed!).
A few minutes ago, I looked at some statistics on the web. It said the buying cycle for a car purchase is 108 days. Today is March 29, 2020. Let’s assume that a person decided that they needed a new car today. If the 108 day stat holds true, that person will purchase their new car on July 15, 2020. If I was a car dealer, I would want to be taking actions TODAY to influence the decision this person will make on July 15th. Also, let’s not forget about the people who were already in the buying cycle when all of this started. Those people will be ready to buy as soon as normalcy begins to return. Now is the time to influence that purchase, right?
If we know that people are still either in the buying cycle or entering the cycle and that this virus crisis will pass, why is it so many businesses are suspending or canceling their advertising and marketing plans? As a businessperson myself, I find no better time to step on the gas than when my competition is being cautious. Maybe businesses are bailing out on advertising plans because that’s what they see their competitors doing? Hmmmmm? Is that how you win market share, by copying your competitors?
Okay, so let’s say you do believe that this virus crisis is going to last a very long time? Hey man, if that’s the case then we are all doomed. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll go down swinging.
By and large, you don’t market and advertise your business in order to talk to people buying today. It’s more about influencing a decision in the future. Planting a seed so that when a problem arises customers will come to you for a solution. If you want to survive and even thrive in this crisis, then now is the time for analysis, activity, and execution. I’ve been through many tough times in business, and every time the only way I made it was I sold my way out of the situation. I do a lot of things in my personal life that most people would classify as risky. In most of the high-risk activities that I do, if you freeze and don’t act, you die. Analyze, make a decision and move!
Advertising is a part of your revenue creation team just like a salesperson. You wouldn’t fire all of your salespeople because of a temporary disruption in business, right? So why would you stop advertising when you encounter a temporary disruption. Unless you’re closed due to a government order, then business in your industry is still being transacted. Maybe not on the same scale as before, but it’s still happening. It’s in times like these that market share is won or lost. On January 31st of this year, the closing stock price for the video conferencing app ZOOM was $76.30. On March 27th ZOOM stock closed at $151.70. Are you focusing on the negatives of this crisis or are you searching for an opportunity? Speaking of ZOOM, one thing we are doing in my shop is we are using the constraints caused by the virus to FORCE ourselves to use technology like ZOOM. While we are on the topic of opportunity, on Friday President Trump signed the $2-TRILLION stimulus bill into law. Many American’s will be getting a check around the 3rd or 4th week of April. For those people who have been financially impacted due to the virus, these funds will immediately go towards things like mortgages, rent, and past-due bills. However, there are many people who will receive checks that have not been financially impacted. For these people, they just received a bonus, newfound money. I’m sure this money will be spent. Will it be spent with your business? Your actions now will impact that outcome.
Before the virus, from an economic standpoint, the country was in great shape. When we get this virus under control, and we will, things will return to pre-virus levels. Again, will you be ready?
My name is Chris Pruitt. I work for Nexstar Media and I am Open For Business! #OFB
Take care and be safe.
PS – You write $2-trillion $2,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros!