Ad Age recently published an interesting interview with Samsung CMO Steven Cook. He related some of his observations, which I believe can help many, as we seek ways through the tough times ahead.
Firstly, he mentioned the long-term success of companies that do not restrict marketing in tough times. Of course, inept marketing is not worth the money it takes, but effective marketing in tough times will actually help your company come out ahead of the competion - and faster! Procter & Gamble’s commitment to marketing helps explain its longevity. I recently went to a presentation paralleling the situation in 1929 and today. Companies such as P&G and General Motors actually did very well employing the strategy of consistent and innovative marketing.
Secondly, Mr. Cook shows the “upside” of the tough times for marketing. E.g. if people can afford less to go out to movies, they are more likely to invest in home movie options - including flat screen TVs, the new film downloading technologies and servers etc. This should emphasize the need for all of us to see the markets that will in fact be created by the recession.
Thirdly, Mr. Cook mentions the growing influence of “Green concerns”. He mentions how important it is to remain humble, not promise what you can’t deliver, and then deliver or over-deliver. I also liked his creative thinking when he gave out cellphone recycle envelopes at a recent conference when he was keynote speaker.
All of these examples should encourage us as we look at the ways strong companies are finding to negotiate a challenging time and come out ahead.