Skip to content

Tsunamis and Marketing

It all starts with a simple view on the horizon.  Dark clouds, high winds and a huge swell forming what looks like a wave.  It can’t be – I have revenue targets to make, dividends to pay, analysts to please, clients to keep happy, impressions that need to be made.  Maybe it’s not a wave and I can just go back to my work.  How many of us have this conversation every single day about something?  It’s human nature – dealing with dark clouds, wind and water is not for the meek.  The meek don’t take market-share, they don’t become market leaders…. eventually, they rust and perish.

Run for Higher Ground

With strong pressure on marketing ROI, consumer confidence fading and sales of cars dropping, can it be long until budgets, people and agencies shrink and disappear?  Aren’t these the first things to get cut in a downturn?  In the past, as a profession and an industry, we learned, incorrectly, to pitch these times as an opportunity to be “above it all” and make this a time to advertise more, when your competition doesn’t or can’t.  Running to high ground now isn’t really high enough given the confluence and things about to challenge marketers everywhere.

Put a Toe in the Water

There are all these new methods to refine marketing, perhaps we should contemplate trying a little something new.  We could take just a small portion of our budgets and try to better target, refine our audiences, double verify our cookie pool and placement.  Maybe this will show us a better chance at meeting our goals for both marketing and sales.  Yet, how could a small change in direction save us from a marketing tsunami?  It can’t move the needle, will not impress the boss, the clients or the financial community.  And while we were putzing around with a little side project with our toe in the water, the wave hit the beach and pummeled us into the sand.


Some of us don’t look out on the horizon, believe in changing seas or winds as a force often just choose to believe that signs are just signs and tomorrow will unfold just like today.  Do I have some direct mail programs to sell to you!  Ok, a little rain, some water, floating debris…. how bad can it be? Let’s just do what we always do and perhaps the storm will miss us. Just look at lists of industries, companies, products, beaches and species that have failed to heed the sirens and the urging of markets to do anything, something other than stay in the path of a potentially threatening storm. They are all gone! At least with this option none of the participants will be around to deal with the consequences.


Gee, behind that wave it is sunny and bright and the view from the top seems so beautiful.  From up there we can see what will be demolished and what will be spared.  All the options on this side of the wave seem, well, kind of wet and sandy.  Up there we can see markets, see where our messages need to land and can always fall back and hope for a more manageable second wave, one where we are armed with the knowledge of the ride.  Underneath us is all the junk broken up by an industry ducking, dipping and depending on old tactics.  Our jobs are to build the most precise, executable audiences for our clients that drive the maximum results.  To actually spend less, sell more and know why.  Riding is the only option.

Old Joke
A media buyer runs into a friend that happens to have a fire sale on digital programmatic advertising, it’s only $0.10 cents CPM.  Astounded at this rate, the young buyer remembered that he had a friend at a brand agency that did business with a big retailer that needed just this type of media.  The media buyer picked up the phone and called his friend and the media changed hands twice, once at $1.00 CPM and then to the retailer at $5.00 CPM.  The media buyer and the agency celebrated at their profitable transactions, then the client’s numbers came in.  The media didn’t drive anyone to the store or the web.  The agency was questioned by the client and the media buyer by the agency.  “What give’s they were asked?”  “Oh, that media was for buying and selling, not using.”

“Better to burn out than fade away……”

Time for a #refinition #wecandobetter #customaudiencebuilders

Back To Top