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Monday, May 18, 2009

Eight Rules for Adapting To The New Normal

In their new book “Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence,” authors Philip Kotler and John A. Caslione establish a new framework for dealing with a prolonged period of economic change and uncertainty.

In the book, they offer a system of new strategic behaviors for dealing with the uncertainty that comes from turbulence’s chaos. Here are their eight new "rules" for adapting to the "New Age Of Normal."

Rule 1 - Keep recruiting. Focus on the bigger picture of long-term growth. Be careful about layoffs, because it’s expensive to re-hire and could be fatal if your best employees get scooped up by the competition.

Rule 2 - Keep training. During downturns, people need new and more advanced skills and knowledge. Use the downtime to increase education and to re-tool for the changing business scene.

Rule 3 - Keep talking. “Be honest with employees about difficult times,” they advise. Rumors are toxic. Nip them in the bud with candor.

Rule 4 - The CEO can’t do it alone. C-level executives and line managers need to be mobilized to meet with staff in small groups to interpret corporate strategy for the operational level and to stay focused on key tactical objectives.

Rule 5 - Nail down your core clients and markets. Focus on your main source of revenue. “Turbulence is not a good climate for venturing into new customer segments,” they say. “It’s time to secure the home front.”

Rule 6 - Push aggressively to win market share. Look at weakened competitors as a source of new business.

Rule 7 - Listen to clients and stakeholders. “Chaos has a way of changing everyone, including your core customers,” the authors say. “Their needs and wants are in flux.” Stay close. Redouble market research and customer satisfaction surveys. And try new advertising ideas. “You don’t want to find yourself relying on old marketing messages that no longer resonate.”

Rule 8 - Don’t cut business development. Maintain the marketing budget. Increase it if you can. “With the market being buffeted, your customers getting whipsawed, and your competitors making bold moves on your turf, turbulence is the worst time to cut anything in your marketing budget that targets your core customer segments. In fact, you need to add to it.” Shift money out of new customer segments if you need to.

(Hat tip to Rick Telberg, at CPATrendlines)

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