The Discipline of Market Leaders (or, “I read the news today, oh boy!”)
I’ve told people for years that my business is akin to the canary in the coal mine. We smell the gas first. Except that, until today, that hasn’t been true. The media have reported in earnest on the apparent demise of the economy for at least two months now (depending on whether you watch Fox or Jim Lehrer), and it had seemed that our firm was insulated by some ongoing work in industries typically immune to such downswings, such as healthcare. Well, it finally hit us today.
The real estate fallout and gas prices are obvious; perhaps it’s also the uncertainties of an ongoing war most of us seem to no longer support, if we ever did. But what else? Is it the irrational pessimism that I’ve written of before? That’s a good bet, I think. We manifest what we continually dwell on. I believe that. I’ve seen it in my own life. People talk about how lousy the economy is and surprise: it becomes so.
Is it, really? Gas and food prices are hitting us hard, but in some ways, we’re just catching up with the rest of the world. I remember when Europe routinely had gas prices in the US$3/gallon range years ago.
We could debate the existence or non-existence of recession for hours. The point is this: when it comes to marketing, market leaders stay the course — perhaps even increase their marketing. Market leaders are disciplined. When others get market jitters, they dig in. They continue the plans they’ve had in place, the marketing strategy they’ve crafted so carefully. And guess what? When it’s all over, they have gained the market share other companies have lost.
P.S. There’s a good book by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema with the same title as this post.