Recession not an insurmountable challenge

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I don't want to hear any more about continuing economic gloom. After weeks of dismal retail sales (despite all my shopping), round after round of layoffs (been there), ricocheting stock markets (ditto) and dire threats of more to come, I'm done. Time to stick a fork in this recession.

No, I don't have my head in the sand. When looking at the economy, I prefer to apply the classic half-empty/half-full glass metaphor. Most economic analysts, opt­ing for the half-empty glass, are predicting that the economy will only get worse. But, if you were inclined to look at the glass as half-full, you might accept the challenge that things can only get better.

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has opted for the positive road with its latest concoction. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, it has co-opted the campaign slogan of President-elect Barack Obama, “Yes, we can,” into the ice cream confection of “Yes, Pecan” for its shops this month.

“We want to be proactive in encouraging all of us to engage in the process of getting America back on a positive track,” Ben & Jerry's Chief Euphoria Officer Walt Freese said in a statement.

Well, all right then. What about the rest of you?

It's a new year with plenty of change about, and there are lots of other marketing challenges to take advantage of and to focus priorities on. A new sur­vey of marketing professionals by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) says insight and innovation are viewed as keys to combat down economic and business cycles.

Dunkin' Donuts has embarked on its new $100 mil­lion campaign, which it calls a rallying cry of “You Kin' Do It!” to offer what it says is encouragement and a spirit of fun in these challenging time — and, hopefully, to sell some donuts and coffee along the way.

Marketers in financial services have their hands full, but the proposed economic stimulus, with its potential tax breaks for individuals and businesses, offers opportunities to be creative, explore new busi­ness in areas likely to grow, such as alternative energy, and rebuild confidence.

The MENG survey also pointed to customer satis­faction and retention as key concepts for most market­ers. For retailers who are still looking for the bottom, further appealing to customer loyalty, expanding digi­tal and mobile initiatives and building relationships beyond the holiday season should be priorities.

And, as Dianna Dilworth reported on last week, things are looking up for e-mail mar­keters. Whether due to the medium's affordability or measurability at a time of greater budget scrutiny, e-mail has proven itself as a channel for good ROI.

Marketers have been creative, whether building e-mail or mobile campaigns, social network tie-ins, or more. The challenge will be to sustain it, grow it and move forward.

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