Snackfest Continues – 2009 Marketing Advice

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This is part two of a two course helping of snack sized small business marketing advice for 2009. Find the 1st course here.

With 2009 just around the corner I thought it would be fun to collect the thoughts of some of the leading marketing folks around the web, but do so in what I am calling snack size fashion – so welcome to Snackfest 2009.

In keeping with the current trend in social media for small bites of info, think twitter sized responses – Plain and simple I asked some thought leaders this question:

2009 will be the year for small businesses to . . .

Want to play along? Here’s how, post your comment answer to the same question, comment on the snack answer of each expert and tweet your thoughts using #snack09.Follow the Twitter Stream on this here

Here’s how some thought leaders responded to my question.
Guy Kawasaki, author of Reality Check said . . .Stop believing that Wall Street and investment bankers are any smarter than they are.Twitter ID

Ann Handley, chief content officer for Marketing Profs said . . .Swell in ranks. Corporate downsizing spawns a host of new businesses. Many decide to cut their own path, as traditional paths close up.Twitter ID

Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft said . . . market to prospects and customers without increasing marketing expenses or staff size.Twitter ID

Bob Burg, author of the Go-Giver said . . .focus on adding even more value to existing and future relationships and being truly authentic.Twitter ID

Laura Lake, Guide of said . . . make a major shift into social marketing and online relationship building. It’s no longer an option, it’s vital.Twitter ID

Scott Allen, author of The Virtual Handshake said . . . get funded. Cap gain tax cuts & revitalization of SBA = available equity & credit $$$. It’s time to make a big move that needs big capital.Twitter ID

Chris Baggott, CEO of Compendium Blogware said . . . take advantage of their inherent advantage in local SEO. Targeted business blogging empowers small business to control their own destiny and win the online battle.Twitter ID

Anita Campbell, editor of Small Business Trends said . . . Get serious about making money! When times get tough, tough business owners get going. 2009’s economy means no fooling around.Twitter ID

Rich Sloan, co-author of StartUpNation said . . . Home-Based businesses will be launched at unprecedented rates. Attrition will decrease as people use tools like email marketing.Twitter ID

Jim Gilmore, co-author of The Experience Economy said . . . act boldly and take sales from retrenching big businesses.

Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing said . . . Stand up and say “Happy customers are our greatest advertisers. We’re going to find a million ways to make people happy.Twitter ID

Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE said . . . get back to the true managerial basics of running their businesses. Businesses that were marginal in previous years will really struggle and well run businesses will survive and hopefully thrive.

Lee Odden, publisher of TopRank blog said . . . stop wasting time on tactics du jour, and start looking their online marketing holistically to find the right mix of measurable marketing efforts that generate sales and build value over time.Twitter ID

Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large, Inc. Magazine said . . . take advantage of the opportunities for growth in a recession.Twitter ID

So, what do you have to say?


Anita Campbell, Ann Handley, bo burlingham, Bob Burg, chris baggott, clate mask, Guy Kawasaki, jim gilmore, ken yancey, laura lake, Lee Odden, rich sloan, scott allen

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  1. Reading today and yesterday’s advices made me ask myself “why” is so hard for the small business owner to stay focused on what’s important for the business. Any hint?

  2. Thanks John for commenting opportunity. Mitch Meyerson has a good formula for marketing in tough times. Do 60% of your marketing efforts with existing customers; 30% with existing prospects; and 10% to the universe. Sounds like a winning formula to me.

  3. @Javier – I guess a part of it is just human nature – the important stuff gets old and boring before we ever really get to it, so we chase the next new thing. I love social media, but it’s a great example. So many folks want to jump into twitter or Facebook when they should be spending more time making sure they have a content rich web or blog site.

  4. The answer to Javier’s question is “fear”.

    Fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing if the economy will return, if customers will return, if profits will return, etc…If SBO’s would simply stop a second, look in the mirror and rededicate themselves to what made them great in the first place (adding as much value as possible to every single customer experience) then they will do more than just survive – they will thrive.

  5. John, THANK YOU for the ‘follow fodder’! Yesterday, I was roaring about the networking/connection learning opportunity I sought with follows. Today I have been snacking till Guy Kawasaki’s size 14 won’t work very well. Back to some more exercise! 😉

    luv the captha I got this time: At Prayer — You Betcha!

  6. I agree with Rich Sloan.

    Home businesses will increase dramatically in 2009 do to all the downsizing. These new entrepreneurs will be passionate and creative.The world will get even flatter. 2009 will be the year of the home business.

    Kelly Wissink

  7. 2009 will be a test for all businesses and I compare business survival in a way to the animal kingdom in that it will be “survival of the fittest” Those that have put cash aside for a “rainy day” as it were and have made their business more efficient will hopefully survive the day – good luck to all and a Happy New Year from

  8. Show their resiliency as the force in the economy that keeps us going. Sor small business, it only takes a few more customers to have a great year!

  9. Bob Burg makes a great point about adding value to relationships and being “more authentic”. This is an area where small businesses can have a real advantage vs. larger competitors. Small companies can also be more flexible to test new initiatives because there aren’t multiple layers of bureaucracy that limit change.

  10. Keep on believing that your achievements in the pat year will skyrocket your results in the followion year, and so on. Havent we done our best? Havent we dedicated time and love to whats ours? I have!

  11. @Janine – yes small businesses have so many advantages – not the least of which is as Barry mentions, they only need a few more customers to make it a great year.

    @Alex – Tell me more about unleashing data

  12. these tweet size nuggets are great inspiration for small business owners to see that they really can prosper right now in this economy regardless of what bigger fish are doing.

  13. businesses to…trim fat, be flexible, service existing customers and watch for opportunities. This is my third recession in business. I watched my father survived the ups and downs as well. If you didn’t anticipate this downturn, you may be in for a rough ride. This feels a bit like the eye of the storm. Simple economics is always nice to visit. Buy low, sell high, a mentor of mine said, ” I always buy straw hats in the winter.” Now is the time to get your name out there and nurture your relationships. Listen to what your customers are saying. Stay current with the times.
    There are opportunities in all of the cycles of the market place–that is unless we fall into a deep depression. Than all bets are off haven’t been through one of those.

  14. There are numerous opportunities for many small businesses in this coming year while larger businesses either fold or cut way back on marketing and internet spending.

    Small business have the potential to be much more agile and target the best opportunities quickly while the employees at the larger companies are sitting around waiting to be laid off.

    However, cash flow will continue to be extremely tough for small businesses since having a few customers pay late or not at all can break a small business quickly.

  15. Just another thought following on from what Tom Pettit says – small businesses will have to survive on their own because the governments will not be bailing them out like the big companies and banks!

  16. @Tom Pettit & @Business blog – I live in Argentina and we own a small bss. In 2002 we had to survive an economic catastrophe thanks to our Government bad policies. There were really hard times. Our recipe? work hard, keep the company alive, be creative, be positive, support employees, customers and suppliers. We survived and now we are stronger than ever.
    Small bss owners have to look at this recession as n oportunity to show how good they are.

  17. Good point, Rich. Not only will small and home-based businesses start up, they will thrive. Unlike larger businesses, small businesses (such as my freelance writing business) only need to keep a few clients happy to make a great living. And, lower overhead means they can pass along the savings to increasingly budget-conscious corporations and agencies.

  18. One of the things that I keep saying and perhaps it’s showing true from many of comments here is that the recession we all read about isn’t and won’t impact small business in the traditional sense.

  19. Transparency is becoming even more important. This is an easier ideal for small businesses than it is for large companies. The actual business idea itself is not as important as the implementation so we don’t need to be secretive to be successful. Zappos is one of my favorite examples of a company with a less than glamorous business idea coupled with flawless implementation.

  20. Great comments above…here’s one to consider. Now’s the chance for small businesses to stop trying to act like the “big boys”, ie, telling your customers what they need…and instead they will start focusing on what their customers need and want as products and services. The big companies have the resources…and the overhead…the small companies can get into the granular detail needed to truly innovate and lock-in business for 2009.

  21. Discipline is the key…in planning, management, marketing and spending. The good years make us soft and undisciplined. It’s times like this that force us back to the fundamentals.

  22. Small bussinesses won’t be affected like the big ones and the reason is that they have bigger Roi than any big company. Big companies live every day on the edge.

  23. …seriously look into diversifying their marketing (especially, online). Affiliate marketing, for example, is remaining to be one of the most cost-effective, yet altogether a frequently overlooked channel.

  24. I believe the coming year will prompt more business owners to learn (and use) 4 Words more often: “Can I quote you?” — to get TESTIMONIALS from satisfied customers. Also, I think they’ll be humming my “Disorganized” tune (at my blog, to motivate them to get organized and stay that way!

    Michelle (The AMPlady)

  25. 2009 will be the year that strong small businesses outperform what used-to-be strong big businesses; because they are more nimble, have less internal process (and less politics) to slow down decision making; and are more capable of adapting quickly to the market.

  26. For small businesses in 2009, I see even greater specialization in the service sector, and fewer employees. As it becomes more cost prohibitive to have employees, more micro-businesses will hire more contractors – bookkeepers, webmasters, various virtual assistants, etc.

    I also see more ‘feminization’ in business – more relationship building, more sensitivity, etc. However, also more logic and less ‘the secret’ as the thinning of the herd clears out those less willing to put in the work required for the power of attraction to kick in!

  27. Enjoying the Snackfest via Twitter. At LotusJump, we’re hoping 2009 will be the year we help small businesses take control of their own SEO efforts.

  28. Authenticity is, I think, one of the areas where many large businesses have trouble, and where small businesses have an opportunity to shine. But for the small businesses to do so, they need to possess and leverage as much as possible, their online presence.

  29. I would have to agree with rich sloan. With the brick and mortar economy the way it is, more and more people are going to look to the internet to solve their problems. I believe this will create an increase in entreprenuers on the internet. This influx of new people to the net will create huge opportunities.

  30. 2009 will definitely test many small business owners. I think those that are creative and open minded to new avenues and possibilities will flourish in 2009. business owners that want to stay the course and not recognize the fundamental shifts that are occurring will really struggle.

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