It’s easy to feel that we are all at the mercy of market forces. They affect individual consumers and enterprises. Daily we are bombarded with statistics, most of which are useless to us as consumers and entrepreneurs. Why? Because we as individuals cannot control the market, so rather than feel helpless, I say why even worry about them?

People sell shares and companies lay off staff, all based on their perceptions of what will happen, while our governments attempt to “talk up” the economy!

This article is not about all of the empirical data that shows companies who continue marketing during a downturn, increase sales and come out with greater market share and improved brand loyalty when the good times return. No, enough has been already been written about that, although the majority of manufacturers have not heeded the advice. So, I’ll try to simplify it:

“When everybody goes one way, you should go in the opposite direction.” Words to that effect have been attributed to some pretty successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson. So why do we as a business community react so emotionally and irrationally? Because humans are emotional beings and because emotions are much more powerful than logic. If you are smart then you can use this knowledge to your advantage and connect your products or services to the emotional needs of your customers! It’s called branding!

I say ‘who cares’ to the “SAGE SME Business Sentiment Index 2011” quoted in Manufacturer’s Monthly:

  • 4 in 10 feel business is performing better than in 2010.
  • 1 in 10 feel it’s performing worse
  • 5 in 10 feel there is no difference

How does this information help the individual enterprises? It doesn’t.

The conclusion is that manufacturers are realistic about their situation, but really who cares that rising costs and cash flow have become less important while sales and efficiency are now at the top of the priority list. I would have thought that they should always be at the top of the list.

As a marketing consultancy we ask our clients to be ‘unrealistic’. If you do what you have always done, that is be a follower of the market, then you will get what you always got!

According to “SAGE SME Business Sentiment Index 2011” twice as many manufacturers want to invest more money into sales than other types of businesses, if only they had the budget!

So what does this mean to you?

  • Manufacturers tend to invest less into Marketing and Sales activities in the first place
  • Not having the budget just means the manufacturer’s objective is actually not that important to them.
  • Manufacturers that do invest into Marketing and Sales activities wisely will be going ‘against the market’ and should prosper.

Australian manufacturers need to start taking marketing seriously, to remain competitive and relevant. They need to become educated about marketing disciplines, at least to a level where they can effectively engage with marketing professionals. Manufacturers need to adopt an attitude that has long been adopted by smart job seekers looking for a position in a tough employment market – what matters is not the % unemployment but whether you can land that one perfect job.

So stop looking at ‘the market’, stop following others, stay positive, and develop strategies to create positive perceptions in the mind of your customers and prospects so as to find, attract and retain customers and then continuously test, increase and improve them.

Manufacture your future; whether it’s a failure or a fortune, it’s up to you!