MARKETING A BUSINESS IN A FAILING ECONOMY – BY JEAN-PIERRE MURRAY-KLINE (MARCH 2023)
MARKETING A BUSINESS IN A FAILING ECONOMY.
In this article I zone in on one very important thing, marketing for South African businesses in an economy that for all intensive purposes has stalled. How marketing is done today will not resemble the techniques of marketing in 2030 and beyond. It is petrifying and exciting to know that if I keep my finger on the pulse I stand to benefit from innovative ways of reaching Clients which my dinosaur competitors are blissfully unaware of and disinterested in.
I can unpack all the future marketing trends in another article, explaining how to be the asteroid in the market place, but for this one I want to discuss how to take advantage of an failing economy.
Be aware of the failure.
Unfortunately numerous businesses didn’t survive the pandemic and many continue to close their doors today because of ongoing economic, social and political turmoil. Some people are like ostriches and have their head in the ground, refusing to see. I am astutely aware because one of my monthly tasks is to review my competitors, and as the months have passed since the ‘Covid Lock Down’ I have less of them.
One person’s misfortune can be another’s opportunity. The fire at Parliament was a catastrophe, but for the Building Contractor and his or her staff that get to refurbish Parliament, it will be a chance of a lifetime to earn an excellent income and literally build a legacy.
People still need the services and products of all those businesses that have shut shop, and how you survive a failing economy is simple: you need to simply outlive your competitor. If you made it to March 2023, it means you cut back to the bare essentials and held on tight. The time is nigh. There is less competition today than ever before and you have the opportunity to gobble up a larger piece of the pie.
Newbies love pie.
If we don’t take this opportunity, Millennials and Generation Z’s will. Technology levels the playing field and makes it easier for start-ups than for long standing established ones to innovate. Old school companies have legacy systems which present resistance to change. A major Red Flag is old ways of thinking.
Regardless of the generation mix at a company, it is my experience that most South African businesses have negligible levels of knowledge on global trends. Worse yet, there is even less interest in exploring them. This is a major frustration for me, it is like being stranded at sea with someone on a small boat controlling the only oar you have, but they are too stubborn and set in their ways to turn their head and see an island in another direction.
Many people in South Africa have lost the will to do better, and this comes at a time when education and re-learning is needed at double time to ensure we remain competitive in a global market and rise up to mitigate international challenges.
The majority of businesses that managed to survive the pandemic and continue to weather the South African economic storm had a few common denominators. One of these was a ‘Change Champion’. That is someone who enjoyed and actively researched innovation, bringing ideas to the management table for consideration. A malleable business structure is the other equally important denominator. While there are several other traits I could mention it is these two that will help South African businesses recover and excel in the coming months. Be honest, does your company have these or not?
We have not begun to live through the disruptive forces I mentioned in my article “Futurologists sound like a broken record”. If you don’t prepare you will probably become someone else’s ‘Parliament opportunity’.
Becoming a Change Champion and removing intransigent processes within your business gives your company a fighting chance. You need to make the very hard decisions and be ruthless in your self-assessment. Sometimes having an impartial ‘outsider’ analyse your operations can do the trick. I offer a professional and constructive review as a Business and Environmental Technologist. My goal is to encourage new ways of thinking in the hopes to inspire innovative, efficient, sustainable and ethical ways of doing business.
An example of one of the areas I might offer feedback on is your marketing plan. It is a sad fact that most businesses are winging their marketing entirely and the few that have a strategy are doing SEO, PPC, Content, Targeting and Brand Awareness wrong. Just about none have plans for Negative Online Reputation Management or Reviews. The culprit for ‘this’ is old school methods and failure to do re-training. Most businesses wouldn’t know what to do with a data breach or hack if it happened to them today, and these are some of the most perilous and under prepared threats waiting to wreck a business.
Employee Skill Development and Marketing share the same lonely bottom line item at the far end of any company budget sheet, if they get any space at all. On average two out of three Clients who launch websites through one of my businesses set aside development costs only, and zippo money for marketing. It boggles my mind. About 500 000+ new websites are launched each day! Marketing is everything.
To improve your chances it is imperative to read the room. South Africa has a mountain of unresolved issues and many of them have left residual damage so deeply ingrained into our social fabric, I don’t believe it can ever be removed. It is now part of our DNA and what ‘makes’ a South African. We live and work around sensitive and inflammatory issues. Knowing what these are and making provision for them can give you the edge.
I believe researching the market specific to a Client’s business is imperative. I can help a company develop in line with future trends, take advantage of available technological innovation, and prioritize budgets to ensure it’s spent on strategies that see the fastest return.
More on Future business here:
But wait, there is MORE!
Who is Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline?
Jean-Pierre is a South African Serial Entrepreneur, Published Author and Change Champion who has worked in over 300 types of industries in some capacity or another. His own online businesses have generated millions of Rands and involved sectors including Law, Web & App Development, Events & Entertainment, Property, Technical Services, Media and Tourism.
He has travelled to over 50 cities World-Wide, and is extremely active as a Business and Environmental Technologist.
Jean-Pierre is often asked to be a Guest Speaker on any variety of the many subjects he continuously studies and writes about.
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