Calima: Marketing through the Uncertainty …

While holidaying on Lanzarote recently, we experienced the conditions called Calima. For those of you not familiar with it, a calima is where they have dust & sand particles in the air, which not only restricts your vision (or at least how far you can see) but it also makes it far more uncomfortable for people.

Your restricted vision takes the form of nearby islands being totally obscured, with some of the less distant hillsides, mountains and so on, fuzzy in the murk. And as for the horizon, forget it, that’s just a hazy blur!

The second aspect, the less comfortable conditions come about by the blanket effect of the sand and dust particles in the atmosphere almost acting like a magnifying glass, but certainly acting as an insulation layer holding one day’s heat in overnight so that it then rebuilds the following day, because every day has nice bright sunshine at this time of year. The good news from a personal perspective was that they did not have the most extreme conditions known as a Sirocco, where it is a wind blowing Sahara desert dust across, so it’s a hot wind in the first place, with far more thicker cloud, murk, call it what you will, acting as the insulation blanket, thus making it the most uncomfortable situation imaginable. Overnight is way too oppressive to sleep well!

As a Business Growth Specialist, I thought that this was, in a way, quite comparable to our existing UK situation when it comes to running our businesses, as the economic outlook is almost suffering a calima, where through Brexit negotiations and government uncertainty we are unable to see that far ahead, which restricts our forward planning. Likewise, that inability to see that far forward, to have any certainty as to what is going to happen in the coming months, let alone years, is also a very uncomfortable situation and turns up the heat on us as decision takers.

Now I’m going to bang the same drum that I’ve banged before, namely that business owners tend to fall into two camps and I’m hoping that those of you who listen and/or read this will fall into the camp of action takers. I believe you should be taking action based on what little information you can be sure of, and shaping your future regardless of what else is going on, because you know what, there are all too many others out there, and in particular the vast majority of your direct competitors who are going to sit tight and do nothing until they know for sure. If you ramp up your marketing now, you will steal a march on them, not only now but downstream too because having stepped up your marketing campaigns and efforts now, you will be that much stronger, you will have more certainty about what strategies are working for you, and you will be able to implement them even better, having trialled them through these uncertain times. There will also be the added benefit that whatever you do now is going to raise your profile far more than those who do nothing and just sit on their hands, and thus, come the better days, you will be a better known supplier of the goods or services you provide.

How do you see forward through these murky hazy conditions? Crystal ball gazing has always been a bit of a black art and more luck than judgement; politics, wars, terrorist activities, natural disasters, all unforeseeable events and uncontrollable by we business owners. So we can never plan with 100% confidence and certainty. Many of us have realised this, have got used to it and just work with the best available intell we have, make certain assumptions where we don’t have hard knowledge, hard facts, and we base everything around that. Yes, sometimes we need to be a little bit more, what’s the word, nimble, agile, to be prepared to make changes if an assumption is proven wrong, but I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Let’s face it, if you were to set off in a car from London heading towards Newcastle, your satellite navigation system is not working, you don’t have any roadmaps. If you started by saying, well, Newcastle is somewhere north so you started going up the M1, by the time you reached the junction with the M6, so you’re pretty much level with Birmingham, if you then realise that you might be better off further east, at least you are some 70 miles (?) closer to your destination than if you’d stayed in London waiting for perfect knowledge before starting your journey. Yes, you are perhaps on a slight detour, but you’re still closer to your objective than you otherwise would have been. Even if you then took the decision to branch off and follow the M6 which took you a lot closer to Manchester, it’s no big deal, you’re still closer to Newcastle than London is, and it is a recoverable situation via the M62, which will bring you across to a point where you can pick up the A1, which is I believe the preferred route to take. So you see, starting with imperfect knowledge is not a total disaster, it does not prevent you from achieving your objectives, reaching your destination.

That’s just one very simple analogy, so I urge you enjoy these times, recognise the discomfiture of your competitors, seek out the best intell you can, and then take action, positive action that is going to shape the future of your business come the day when this economic political calima comes to an end for us here in the UK. You will be that far further ahead than your competitors, and you’ll look back at this time and be grateful that you took action rather than sitting on your hands.

In short, never mind the Calima, get busy marketing through the uncertainty!

Now if you would like to raise your game further, by implementing Strategic Marketing which mitigates the other uncertainties, let’s have a conversation about what that looks like in your business.

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