strategic options in a recession

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  

This was Mike Tyson’s famous response when asked by a reporter if he was worried about Evander Holyfield’s boxing fight plan.

I think it also applies to the best laid 2020 strategic marketing plans.

Mark Ritson shared in an insightful MarketingWeek webinar that brands now find themselves in three different situations, requiring one of three different responses: “Freeze”, “Flex”, or “Fix”. 

The whole webinar is here (requires registration), and you can also read some of the key takeaways here.

As I experienced in the 2008 recession, the stage that brand teams frequently go through first is panic. But, as the cliché goes, panic is not a strategy.

Here’s how Mark framed this opportunity in a roundtable discussion:

“Companies have a chance to repair the business. This is a strategic gift. This is the time to look at killing brands or restructuring departments and then revisiting budgets for 2021. This year is over from a strategic point of view.”

Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years, including a few I drew in 2008 and 2009:

Digital Transformation” April 2020 (license this cartoon)

Digital Transformation cartoon

The Five Stages of Recession” April 2009 (license this cartoon)

The Winning Hand” November 2009 (license this cartoon)

The Five Stages of Missing Plan” June 2008 (license this cartoon)

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Marketoonist | Tom Fishburne


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