It’s the great resignation. It’s the great recession. It’s the great reset. It’s the great…
I get it. The world is in chaos right now. It’s been chaos for the last two years if we’re being honest with each other. Scratch that… It’s been chaos for the last two decades but I’m not here to be all doom and gloom in your inbox. I’m here to talk about how you can set yourself up for success in the coming months and ride the wave. I was originally going to send this out to just a few peers, clients and Foundationites but after writing it… I decided that this is something that others might even find valuable.
This blog post is going to be broken into two key sections (feel free to scroll to what you’re most interested in):
1) How to ride this wave as an individual trying not to lose your job
2) How to ride this wave as a company trying to grow
These are the two things that I think are top priorities for a lot of people right now and my hope is that they’ll help you ride the wave.
Nothing is a guarantee (even the looming ‘recession’ ) but these ideas should help you no matter what:
How to keep your job during a recession / downturn:
Take extreme ownership of your responsibilities & priorities:
You need to try and get as close as possible to the most important priorities for your leadership team. You need to think about the work you’ve been asked to do and consider how crucial it is to helping your team achieve their overarching goals. If you feel like it’s low value – start looking for and asking for additional responsibilities. If you’re in a smaller company – Go directly to the c-suite/founders and ask what you can take off their plate to help achieve [insert an organizational goal here]. If you can execute this well, it will give you their trust and make you irreplaceable. It’s an old book but Seth Godin once wrote Linchpin – It’s a great book on how to become irreplaceable.
Take ownership of your own personal growth:
If you made the mistake over the last couple years of thinking: “I have a job, I have a degree – everyone is hiring – I’m good” — Now would be a perfect time to adjust your thinking. You see, the market is currently being flooded with brilliant minds who just so happened to be working at companies who had to do layoffs. A few months ago, the entire tech ecosystem was competing for talent. Today, a lot of companies within the entire ecosystem are simply trying to get to default alive. This is why building your talents and skills has never been more important. Take that course. Enroll in that program. Read those newsletters. Experiment with those channels. Join those Slack channels. Do the work required to grow as a professional and build relationships.
Take ownership of managing up the chain:
You need to communicate consistently with your manager & even their manager if you’re in a small enough organization. Send them a weekly update. Let them know your priorities, the blockers you need help with and the things that you’re proud to have accomplished this past week that are helping you get closer to achieving the overarching priority for the quarter. Great thread on this idea here.
Take ownership of your personal network:
Right now there are thousands of people scrolling, interacting and learning on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook about your space. You can join these networks and build relationships that last a lifetime. You can build relationships with your next colleague, next manager or next business partner. If the layoffs do impact you — It’s very likely that the relationships you build will help ensure you’re not out of work long.
Take ownership of your attitude:
The world isn’t pretty right now. It’s depressing. The news is horrible and doom scrolling has become a public pastime for many of us. Here’s the thing: I encourage you to try to find some peace and positivity then bringing that energy to the office as much as you possibly can. Do the inner work. If that means therapy, digital coaching, more sleep, more fitness, more sunlight, better eating, no booze, etc… Do it. Find ways to get to a place mentally where you can bring positivity to the office and thrive in the corporate world. Find ways to be the person who elevates the culture.
And here’s how to ride this wave if you’re a company trying to grow…
The first thing you’d expect from a marketer would be:
KEEP INVESTING IN MARKETING.
This is true. I’m going to tell you that.
But before I get to that I have something else that I think is important for you to understand and embrace in the coming months:
- Audit the solutions and tools your team is using and find savings in those that aren’t valuable. Do you really need those 3 lead gen automation services and 4 SEO software solutions all at the same time?
- Determine how many ‘users’ you really need on those various software solutions you’re using. If the software is charging you by the seat – It might be a good time to clean out the unnecessary.
- Lean heavily into transparency and communication. You need to ride this wave and it’s not something to do alone. Communicate openly with the team and get their take on how to make the most impactful decisions.
Now let’s answer the big question:
Should you cut your marketing efforts?
Marketing during a downturn can feel like hammering a nail into a rock day after day.
People walk by and think you’ve gone mad. You wake up each morning wondering if you’re actually doing the right thing. There’s a little bit of dust, and a few tiny chips of rock have flown off, but for the most part, the rock looks no different. One day though, you’re finally rewarded: With one final blow, the rock splits into two pieces. But you realize that it wasn’t that single final blow that got you here—it was the 620 blows to the rock that came before.
Hammering a nail into a rock can feel unfulfilling.
Investing in marketing during a crisis can feel the same way—or even worse:
Insensitive. Foolish. Wasteful. Pointless…
But here’s the thing to remember:
The world will keep on turning. And people… Will keep on searching.
Here’s what the search volume for a few keywords looked like during the 2008 downturn / recession:
People will keep looking for products.
People will keep looking for answers.
People will keep looking for solutions.
That doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to succeed.
You need to invest in the right areas of your business, pull the right levers, and prepare for the recession.
What levers make sense? Here’s a few:
You have a ton of pieces of content that have generated results for you in the past. You can let them collect dust or you can take the time to distribute these assets to your ideal audience on the channels they spend time on. You can generate the same if not more revenue than you did when you first shared that piece. Why? Because the people who follow you now aren’t the same people who followed you when that asset was shared. Embrace content distribution. Create a distribution playbook and framework that will help you ring the content distribution cash register.
Investing In Optimization:
Most brands are going to make the mistake of pulling back on their SEO, A/B testing and CRO budget. This isn’t smart. It isn’t smart because if their competitors continue to invest in improving their content, building links and growing their SEO moat — the competitors are going to come out on top.
Now here’s a technique that isn’t a ‘lever’ that you should invest in:
It’s never been a better time to get creative with your marketing efforts. People are pulling back budgets but people still want to be engaged, entertained and educated. This is where you have the opportunity to get their attention and show them what your brand is all about. This is the time to lean into brand excellence by doing the things that your competitors are avoiding because they don’t want to get burned.
That’s right. Inject personality into your content. Inject storytelling into everything you do. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your creativity and do things that most brands in your industry would avoid. Do the things that most people would be afraid to attempt.
It doesn’t even have to be expensive. It just needs to be creative… A bit unorthodox.
This is where you’ll find opportunities.
This is the time to act.
I’m rooting for you. And may the odds be ever in your favor.