Entrepreneurs on Cayman Brac were recently treated to a presentation by J.D. Mosley-Matchett, associate professor of marketing at the University College of the Cayman Islands, on the best way to market their businesses. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull reports.
Hosted by the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau, the session ‘Strong marketing for a weak economy’ was an upbeat and positive presentation on the ways Cayman Brackers could enhance their businesses, at a time when the effects of last year’s devastating Hurricane Paloma, coupled with the worldwide recession, have put tremendous pressure on Cayman’s largest of the two sister islands.
The first part of Mosley-Matchett’s presentation took a look at these two “big economic blows” sustained by the Sister Islands late last year. She stated: “Although both blows were painful, neither was deadly and they might even be considered blessings in disguise.”
She then noted a quote by Joe Vitale, author of the book Buying Trances: “What if your business burned to the ground? How would you rebuild it to be perfect?” Mosley-Matchett said that the businesses on the Sister Islands did not have to imagine that disaster scenario because Hurricane Paloma provided them with a clean slate from which to re-invent each of their marketing goals and strategies.
She then demonstrated that the current economic downturn should not be considered an insurmountable issue, either.
“Rather than viewing the worldwide economy as a zero-sum game (if I win, you lose), I helped the audience recognise that there is significantly more wealth available today than there was after the US stock market crash of 1987. In fact, even though the fourth quarter of 2008 saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average make 11 of the worst 16 daily declines in history, if considered as percentage losses, only one day last year (15 October) barely surfaced among the top ten worst declines. (That day ranked number nine on a historical list dating all the way back to 1899),” she explained.
So, according to Mosley-Matchett, with increasingly positive economic indicators and an unprecedented chance to re-invent their marketing strategies, the businesses on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have a perfect opportunity to devise innovative plans that will effectively reach their target markets with fresh, invigorating messages.
She then introduced the audience to Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing books, most notably his recent title: Guerrilla Marketing for Tough Times. Stressing the need for a well crafted unique selling proposition and the benefits of devising strategic alliances, Levinson advocates: “The guerrilla attacks when the competition retreats and the attack is concentrated where the guerrilla offers specific product or service advantages.” She followed this with a video with Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com declaring, “…we always put customers first. We always obsess over customers.”
To back up those assertions, Mosely-Matchett showed numerous examples of low-cost, but highly effective ways other small businesses throughout the world have met tough times with creative marketing tactics and by wooing their current customer base.
She also explained her theories about the current Communication Paradigm Shift that the new media of Web 2.0 have enabled. ‘Business as usual’ is a thing of the past, she said, as online communication opportunities through video (YouTube), audio (Skype), and micro-blogging (Twitter) have introduced new ways to help customers discover, embrace, and promote companies that capture their hearts and imaginations. Again, practical business applications helped drive home the potential benefits offered by these technologies to small businesses such as those in the Sister Islands.
She furthered: “As always, businesses must temper the ‘flash and glitter’ of today’s high-tech marketing possibilities with the need for proper planning and subsequent analysis. If the time, effort, and money that are put into a marketing effort do not show a justifiable return, it is only by carefully monitoring the results that a business owner can stop the initiative in a timely manner and change course to try some other tactic that will be more profitable. Careful oversight, planning, and flexibility are the keys to survival and growth.”
In closing, Mosely-Matchett offered the audience a list of books that can help any businessperson successfully weather the current economic storm:
Made to Stick
(Chip & Dan Heath)
The Art of Woo
(Shell & Moussa)
The Irresistible Offer
Book Yourself Solid
Getting to Yes
(Fisher, Ury, & Patton)
The Tipping Point
(Jay Conrad Levinson)