Monday, January 18, 2010

Recovery Ahead? The “Reset Economy” in Marketing, Advertising and Promotion.

BrandWeek’s Elaine Wong interviewed Steve Pacheco, marketing communications director at FedEx, because the company’s not going to be advertising on the Super Bowl again this year. One thing he said goes like this:

There is a new [way of thinking] in America and beyond where folks are sort of reexamining events. It’s been called the “reset economy” to some degree, and so, we’re giving every marketing investment greater scrutiny than before. In this case, we want to leverage the FedEx Orange Bowl investment in a more powerful and impactful way, [to the point where] we’ll be well served not to have advertised in the Super Bowl, and to have our own Super Bowl with the FedEx Orange Bowl.

Pacheco forgot to credit Jeff Immelt with coining the phrase, at least according to Business Week. The biz-mag quoted the GE CEO himself when he named our current econ challenge the “Reset economy.” He feels that people’s expectations are in the process of being ‘reset’ from the past decade.

Immelt says the reset will impact everything from what’s sold and produced to the prices we pay. That’s an obvious view, but Mary Jo Martin, principal of research firm Cynapsus, agrees with him about resetting expectations: “Things are likely not going to be like the good old days for quite some time – if ever. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.”

To Trevor Eade, Director of Marketing/Communications at EMS, it’s like going back to using a stick-shift instead of an automatic transmission. “Our programs were on automatic, with a smooth momentum. (Everyone had a wonderful ride.) Now we’re learning how to drive all over again, with bumps and crunches when shifting.

“We’re forced to use fewer resources and adopt new techniques. We’ll get to the same destination but a little more frazzled.”

And for CITGO E-Communications Manager Beth Palmer the focus is broader, keeping both programs and executions in mind. “The reset economy means that in 2010 we continue to scrutinize and re-think every aspect of HOW we deliver,” she maintains, “while still dazzling our customers.”

Whether you’re frazzled or dazzled, NPR host/novelist Kurt Andersen can help. A few weeks back, the AMA interviewed him about the start-fresh state-of-mind. It’s a pretty damn encouraging view titled, “Hitting the reset button.” He finishes up the transcript this way:

As companies die – and as terrifying as that can be for people in manufacturing, retailing, media, and all the obviously challenged industries – people don't stop wanting the things they provided.

You might be encouraged by reading the entire transcript. (His similarly titled book Reset is enjoyable too.)

Then visualize a new game in which marketing, advertising and promotion are still in demand because your clients and prospects won’t stop wanting the things that your company delivers. That’s the right reset.

PS. Thanks to AMA-ers Trevor Eade, Mary Jo Martin and Beth Palmer for participating in this post; and to Prism Design for help with the photo-illustration.


Mary Jo Martin said...

Thanks for the chance to express an opinion, Richard. speaking of resetting, here's a link to an article on MSNBC today that speaks directly to how expectations (and time frames) can influence people's outlooks:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

You bet, Mary Jo. And thanks for that poll information. (I don't know that I agree with Dan Danford, who's quoted in the article; but everyone gets and opinion.)