The CEOs Guide to Marketing, Strategy, and Business
The year 2023 is going to be all about preparation over predictions.
Inflation. Recession. Rapid layoffs.
These are the times we’re living in. But how do we survive?
I have some ideas I’d like to share.
Prepare. Don’t Predict
All the things you usually line up at the top of the year are in flux.
That includes annual revenue targets, employee numbers, office space, where staff work, and budgeting.
It sucks. But it’s reality.
Even some of the greatest economic predictors are going WTF.
One of my favorite places to go, ITR Economics, typically has great confidence in its predictions. The institution also creates a great framework and roadmap.
But they are almost as confused as the rest of us.
This is scary for people who aren’t in the economic prediction world.
Predictions are off at the best of times and are utterly useless these days. The scholar Mike Tyson said it best:
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
So, prepare to get punched in the face.
Do a Risk Assessment
It might seem obvious. But if you haven’t already, do a real risk assessment. Find out where you are.
If you don’t have enough confidence in doing a real risk assessment on your business, marketing, or go-to-market strategy, have someone else do it.
It will be a good investment for you to save money or invest wisely going down the road.
Are you in a good place?
Are you in a little bit of trouble?
Are you having an HFS moment? (Holy Fucking Shit, if it’s not already in your vocabulary.)
You probably already know your position, but if not, don’t BS yourself. Be real.
Love the One You’re With
Pivot to a customer love strategy in marketing and growth.
Whatever percentage of your marketing budget is allocated to existing clients, double it.
This insight comes from the Stephen Stills classic, Love the One You’re With.
Read the lyrics and see if it makes sense to you.
If you're down and confused
And you don't remember who you're talkin' to
Concentration slip away
Because your baby is so far away
Well, there's a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with
Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit cryin' over good times you've had
There's a girl right next to you
And she's just waitin' for something to do.
It’s been in front of us all along. Stephen Stills had the answer to customer retention strategies.
So how do you do this? There are a lot of ways to focus on customer retention. Here are just a few ideas:
What incentives can you offer existing clients to keep them as your customers? Remember, they’re hurting too. What’s better - losing revenue or having a slight reduction in it? Give them what they need.
Have your people check in with clients more often. How are they doing? What do they need? What are they saying? How can you be a good partner to them?
If you haven’t already done it, there’s no better time than now to introduce the concept of a customer user group. Get the community built. You can learn more about community-led growth in this Grow Up with GROW podcast episode.
Leverage this time to build that intimacy with your customers and create case studies and stories. Give them incentives and their kudos. Show off how awesome they are. They’ll love it. You’ll love it. They’ll also be great tools for sales and marketing initiatives.
“I Live My Life a Quarter Mile at a Time”
The legendary Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) said it best.
As a business owner, chief revenue officer, or VC firm helping guide portfolio companies, you should follow this wisdom.
Real world example: Lee Iacocca (the guy who took over Chrysler about 100 years ago). When Lee took over Chrysler, the company was almost toast. He threw out the traditional annual planning program.
They didn’t have 12 months to fix the company. They barely had 90 days.
So what did Lee do?
He instituted a rolling 90-day plan of action. It was a game-changer. It put everyone into a short-term mindset and enforced the sense of urgency they needed to turn things around.
It’s time for you to do the same. Stop looking 12 months out. At the beginning of each month, look 90 days out.
Live your marketing strategy a quarter at a time.
Put it All Together
Let’s recap. The four pillars to surviving marketing, strategy, and business for 2023 are:
1. Find a way to get a true assessment of your risk
2. Prepare, don’t predict
3. Love the one you’re with by implementing a customer-love strategy
4. Implement rolling 90-day plans