Coping with a Marketing Crisis

July 24, 2007 7:01 pm

When to Throw Strategy Out the Window

Everyone has heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, in the brand communications world, we say, “It takes a crisis to create a marketing plan.” Too often, small to mid-sized company executives become consumed with the day-to-day operations of the business. As a result, important marketing strategy sessions end up at the bottom of the pile of importance. However, an immediate marketing need or crisis can bring business to a screeching halt. Suddenly, your brand, your message, and how the message gets out, becomes top priority.

Many of our clients originally came to us in crisis mode, citing the well-worn, used and abused, “We need this done ASAP!” It’s a phrase I would like to see abolished, not because I’m dismissive of urgent situations (if anything we love a challenge around here). It’s because that in a true marketing or brand emergency situation, “ASAP” is a meaningless expression.

When there’s a crunch on, the fact is this: brand strategy and brand development, while important, simply have to take a back seat to action items. Instead of “ASAP,” we use terms like “hard deadline,” “critical path,” “essential deliverables,” and “final destination,” to bring order to a potentially chaotic situation.

Here’s a “glass is half full” perspective: an emergency need can springboard a company into a solid, long-term marketing program. This sudden shift into action mode inspires an eventual long-term, proactive approach to your brand’s success.

And, when in crisis mode, consulting with professionals to create hard deadlines and develop a workable action plan can be the difference between success and failure.

Top Ten Marketing Emergencies

Over the years, Delia Associates has seen it all….and remedied even the most urgent marketing calamities, including our Top Ten Marketing Emergencies:

  1. An upcoming event – your event is only weeks away and you need presentation materials, posters, collateral, media kits, and participants to fill the seats.
  2. A trade show on the horizon – your event is only three months away, and you have made no arrangements for a booth structure, or given any thought to how to “win the crowd” once you and your booth make it to the show floor.
  3. A product/service launch – you’re about to unveil your latest creation . . . now only if your customers and prospects knew about it.
  4. A direct competitor – is about to introduce a new product or service . . . and you have an opportunity to beat them to the marketplace.
  5. Sudden Partnership or Acquisition – your company just joined forces with another brand and your web site, sales collateral and corporate communications need an immediate overhaul.
  6. A Major Meeting – You just set a meeting with what could be your next great client, yet your presentation materials are not very presentable.
  7. A Speaking Opportunity – you’ve just been asked to replace the keynote speaker at a huge industry conference – this weekend – and you need a presentation and hand-outs that look like they took months to prepare.
  8. A Strategic Partner – has offered to put your message in front of a new segment of potential customers, but you have nothing to give them.
  9. Something Big – your company just realized a big victory. The news is time-sensitive and you want to take a proactive stance.
  10. Rumor Control – the rumor mill is churning and you need to issue a press release to set the record straight.

Do any of these sound familiar?

If you are currently experiencing one (or several) of the Top 10 Marketing Emergencies, you’re not alone. We’ve seen it happen to companies of all sizes, in all different industries. So the last thing we’ll say is the last thing you’ll want to hear: “Why didn’t you address this sooner?”

Remember, sometimes a marketing crisis can bring out the best in people, and bring your brand communications to the forefront of importance. So take the glass-is-half-full outlook, roll up your sleeves and get going. You can do it. And if you hit the wall, give us a call. Good luck and play well!

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!