Okay, let's get the grumbles out of the way first.
- TIMES ARE TOUGH, IT'S ALL TOO HARD - When your average marketer starts jumping at shadows and is increasingly scared to 'have a go', that spells O.P.P.O.R.T.U.N.I.T.Y for the savvy marketer. Famed investor Warren Buffett has a saying along the lines of: "When people are greedy, be fearful; when people are fearful, be greedy". It's a contrarian way of thinking, but hey, Buffett is the best in the business so he must be doing something right. The same goes for marketing. When companies start pulling their heads in, that's when the savvy marketer gets down to business because it means a whole lot of opportunities are about to open up.
- MY BUDGET KEEPS GETTING CUT - Okay, so learn to do more with less (see next point). Savvy marketers will become even more daring; they put in the 'hard yards' and experiment where necessary to devise smart, longer term communication strategies. Average marketers, on the other hand, will continue to use the same old boring/safe/ineffective short-term marketing tactics they've always used, only now they will in all likelihood put the 'hard word' on suppliers and marketing partners in order to save some dosh. Clearly, it's not sustainable because it's a short term 'solution' to what is probably going to be a long term problem.
- MAINSTREAM ADVERTISING IS BECOMING LESS AND LESS EFFECTIVE - Yes it is, and what a fantastic opportunity! Now you don't have to have deep pockets to compete with the 'big guys'. The savvy marketer who is decisive, clever, creative and willing to take a risk now has a veritable vista of marketing options available to them. The average marketer will continue to complain without bothering too hard to try and find viable alternatives.
- CONSUMERS ARE CYNICAL AND DISTRUSTFUL - Do you blame them? How about taking an empathetic approach towards consumers. Is your company or brand wholly transparent in its dealings with customers? Do you treat the public like idiots? Do you blast mindless one-way drivel at them? Do you 'push' irrelevant advertising via the web? Do you speak corporate gobble-gook and continue to spin and polish every sentence when communicating with consumers (this involves PR and corporate affairs people as much as the marketing department)? Do you make it easy for the public to buy goods and services from your company, or converse with you when things go wrong? Savvy marketers are open and honest with their customers; they communicate with spirit and conviction, they have a point of view, they get involved in the marketplace conversation. Average marketers don't know what a marketplace conversation is and fuel consumer distrust by continuing to do what they've always done.
- CONSUMERS ARE THE MEDIA - social media and online communities are having a profound effect on the way we communicate and connect with each other (as well as with companies, brands and organisations). Consumers have always had a voice, it's just now they also have the tools to amplify that voice, and it's scaring the heck out of companies. Not hard to understand why. Companies are used to controlling the message via one-way communication tactics. Guess what, it's getting harder to control the message and two-way communication is becoming the norm (in fact, it's expected). Savvy marketers are on to this paradigm shift and are busily trying to keep ahead of the curve. Average marketers continue to stick their heads in the sand despite the incessant change that's occurring locally and globally.
Today's savvy marketer understands and continues to monitor the ever-changing media and marketing landscape. They're constantly updating their knowledge, looking at new ideas and learning to adapt where necessary. They're bold but not reckless, preferring to take calculated risks because they know that being 'safe and boring' is perhaps the biggest risk of all.