I hope you all had a great Christmas and managed to use the break to get some rest and recreation. I was ill for a couple of days (like quite a few people by the sounds of it) and this gave me some time to do a little reading. The first thing that struck me was how negative the news is, not only did it seem to be quite a violent period of time over Christmas but how down everyone was on the economy.
Here’s the funny thing. Our clients and almost all of the business owners I know are quietly confident and upbeat about business in 2012. So how can they be down on the economy yet up about their own prospects. Who knows? – I thought I would do some digging. Can it all be negative?
Headline 1 - Double dip and depression on the horizon. Well, if you define a depression as a prolonged period in which output lies below its previous peak, then the USA, UK and many other European countries are already in one. Doesn’t seem too bad does it? It's just a label.
Headline 2 - Unemployment hits new high. True - 14th December 2011 UK unemployment increases to 2.64m but there are two points to mention.
a) That’s 8.3% of the population. So 92.2% of the UK population is still in work, still has money to spend and in fact more disposable income due to the record low interest rates (despite the inflation rate and rising costs).
b) The rate of increase in the jobless total is very much slowing down.
Headline 3 - The break up of the eurozone will cause the collapse of Europe, a deep depression across the continent, British businesses will suffer and jobs would be lost. The eurozone is Britain’s largest trading partner. etc etc - Nick Clegg suggests "millions of livelihoods at risk".
I had a look at this and here are the facts.
- The eurozone countries account for 43% of our imports and 47% of our exports. Our exports account for 27% of GDP. So roughly only 13% of our economy is dependent on exporting stuff to the eurozone.
- Maybe luckily; Britain doesn't make many things that people buy in the shops these days. What we do do is weapons, pharmaceuticals and oil and petroleum products followed by business and legal services, financial services, design and consultancy. (Plus Scotch whiskey and Japanese cars) So realistically some of these sectors would continue to do OK even if a deep depression leads to a 5%-10% drop in GDP. - Not quite a collapse is it?
So enough about the economy. Where then do we stand from a marketing point of view? We have been advising our clients to
- Keep their current customers as close as possible. Try a simple phone call.
- Add more value. Don't discount - give that little bit extra, people are spending but they are looking for good value.
- Look at what is working and do more of that.
- Find what is not working very well and stop it.
( If you want to take him up on his offer his website is http://www.rwpgroup.com/ I have not included his e-mail address in case of spams)