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The New Normal

According to the news outlets, the economy is “recovering” even if at a remarkably slow pace. As a business owner, though it sounds good, you can’t afford to buy into a paradigm just because it sells for someone else. Maybe the economy is recovering, maybe it is not, but what we all know for sure and certain is that it has changed. If it recovers, it won’t be the same old, same old. Bailouts, stimulus, new taxes, government mandated healthcare, government takeovers of private business – not only has business changed, but there is a shift occurring in the way the public perceives business.

This much is certain: when we finally enter into the post-crisis period, the business and economic context will not have returned to its pre-crisis state. Executives preparing their organizations to succeed in the new normal must focus on what has changed and what remains basically the same for their customers, companies, and industries. The result will be an environment that, while different from the past, is no less rich in possibilities for those who are prepared.    McKinsey Quarterly: “The New Normal”

As you do business in this recovering economy, look for signs of the “New Normal” and be willing to react and adapt. You can control, to a large extent, how you are perceived in the marketplace through your marketing and advertising efforts.

It is true that marketing is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a profitable business, particularly a small one, but it is also important for owners to recognize the extent of marketing’s potential and be reasonable with their expectations.

“Successful advertising requires a lot of research into the various options available – print, broadcast, web, direct mail, etc. – and whether their potential results are worth the investment. In other words, people may see your ad, but will they respond to it? And are they the audience you want to reach in the first place?”

As businesses emerge from the recession, many will rely on marketing to distinguish themselves from the competition, but they need to realize that a comprehensive marketing strategy – no matter how ingenious or effective – will not cure many of the problems associated with an economic downturn, such as sales, commodity prices or the availability of credit.

However, what marketing can do is, in its own right, invaluable. It can generate leads and create new customers, retain existing or repeat customers, build credibility or trust and improve your reputation.

While businesses should not, by any means, neglect marketing as they recover from the economy, it is important to recognize its extent. Whatever you have learned over the years about your business (in general and particular), look at it again and see if there is a “new normal” for you.

As my  friend in mission work always says as we leave an airport – plan, prepare, and adjust.