Dare to be Indispensable!

I was reading Seth Godin’s e-book What Matters Now (see below) and extrapolating some of his contributors’ thoughts towards our industry with the hopes of encapsulating the opportunities to explore as the recession begins to lift.

The first things we lose during a recession is confidence and trust. Much that we have been relying on seems untrustworthy. It is no longer effective to send a bunch of email postcards to prospects and expect them to stop what they are doing to cal youl. It is still possible to make email useful, but most need to learn how. There is an opportunity to make e-mail an effective part of your marketing program. Be inventive creating all parts of your markeitng mix.

We are losing confidence in our abilities to get people on the telephone, to leave voice mail messages, and get a response. Prospects and even past clients rarely return telephone calls.

When we lose confidence, we often lose our vision. We begin to compromise and second guess what we think the market needs and desires. We are often wrong because we are basing our guesses on old information. The opportunity is to change the ways you do business. As Godin says, become a Linchpin. Give up being a cog. The opportunity is to be an artist.

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Dare to be Indispensable!

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This creates opportunities to be strong about the ways you see and to find those collaborators who are willing to take risks — even in these hard time. The tendency is to find a need and fill it. That is the old model. In a recessive environment, creativity flattens. It is time to expand your vision.

It is important today to build relationships with other creative risk takers. Agencies and their clients are evolving towards new media as you must do without losing what you stand for as a creator. There is an opportunity to restate who you are and what you create and how you do it… What are the creative benefits of working with you.

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This edited email was sent to one of my clients by someone he has been doing business with for years. It demonstrates compassion.

I always enjoyed hanging with you. …We’ve begun to bring a lot of work in-house,

and that’s why you don’t hear from us very much anymore. I miss having collaborations

with people like you, but business forces are at work and technology has made it too

easy to do a lot of the work ourselves. I know that is not good news.

ourselves. I know that’s not good news.

…I sometimes wish for the old days, when everyone just did one thing

and farmed out the rest.

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Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. How would you like to receive dozens of calls each day from people who were business friends asking if you have anything for them? Think of the person on the other end of the telephone. Many of your prospects are no longer where they were when you last worked or spoke with them. This leads to another opportunity:

Compassion. In what ways may you show that you really care. Do you? The frustration in the overall industry is contagious as so many have lost their jobs. If you were to write a letter to your past clients showing compassion, what would it say? This exercise might yield a greater understand of your prospects and past clients.

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Author Ernie Schenck wrote in the CA Advertising Annual:
As I write this there are about 70,000 advertising people out of work. Some of those 70,000 will not be coming back.


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Show that you have something to give. There is an opportunity to be generous. This does not mean giving photographs away. It means being generous. How can you show a readiness to give more of your time than is necessary or expected. Compassion and generosity go together. Both are opportunities.

There is an opportunity for adventure. It is good for you soul. New creations are born from adventure and passion.

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I’ve been thinking about how big our world is and how small-minded we’ve become; how quick we are to judge and how slow to understand. Technology places the resources of the world at our fingertips, yet we have trouble seeing past the tips of our noses.

For every trend there’s a countertrend worth considering. Resolve to leave the screens of your virtual world momentarily behind. and indulge your senses with real world adventure.

St. Augustine said: “The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.” My advice?

Adventure calls. Blaze a new trail. Cross a continent. Dare to discover. Escape the routine. Find a fresh perspective. Go slow; gaze absentmindedly and savor every moment. Have some fun! Invest now in future memories. Journeys are the midwives of thought; keep a journal. Leave prejudice and narrow mindedness behind. Make for the horizon and meet new people. Navigate the unknown. Observe, and open your mind. Pursue a road less traveled. Quest for truth, rely on yourself. Sail away from the safe harbor; Take a risk. Unleash your curiosity. Venture further. Why wait? Expect the unexpected. Say yes to adventure… journey with zeal.

Robyn Waters’ contribution to What Matters Now.

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Seth Godin’s latest complementary e-book

What Matters Now

Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up.

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The old systems for getting business are vanishing. It is time to invent new models and to try them out on your prospects. It is time to explore and invent new markets. Discover counter trends. Find alternatives to the archaic ways that simply no longer work. There is an opportunity to find alternative markets and approach them in innovative ways.

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Adventure Ho!

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