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10                             Ways Digital Can Help You

          Thrive In A Recession
David Armano
VP | Critical Mass
Logic + Emotion | darmano.typepad.com
Twitter: @armano
                                                  criticalmass.com
The question isn’t if we’re heading into a recession. It’s
how bad will it be—and what we learn from it? As
marketing budgets feel the squeeze of the housing crisis
and a slowing U.S. Economy, now is a good time to think
about opportunities.

That’s right. Opportunities. It just happens that the digital
medium could be your best friend in a time when belts
tighten. Here’s a few though starters for how digital can
help your business or brand thrive in a recession:

  Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: Photogrammaton
1 Live by the rules of The Beta Economy
No other medium allows you to launch, test, re-launch, test,
measure, tweak, re-tweak, evolve, re-launch, quite like the
Web. Folks like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin preach
about this all the time. Guy launched his Truemors service
on a shoestring budget and uses Twitter to
promote it. When budgets get cut—look to digital for new
ways of testing    out ideas vs. big bang and
big budget initiatives (think Bud.TV)
2  Leverage Existing Platforms
Why build from scratch when you can use
Wordpress as a CMS, Basecamp as a collaboration tool
and Concept Share as a way to co-create. Now is a great
time to dig into the already existing platforms
(in addition to existing social networks). While building from
scratch has its place, there are more options than ever to
tap into a service that just might do   the job.
3   Switch Tubes
Consider skipping mass TV all together.
It worked for BMW films and with YouTube firmly in
place—it can even work with less production values and
high priced talent. Consider ways to make the participant
the star.
4   Don’t Just Entertain, Engage
When we turned on our “Always in Beta” cam for the first
time—we noticed something immediately. People who
were using it on either side were engaged. In fact, they
were captivated. The simple act of live video and live
chat using free 2.0 tools ended up being a practical way to
engage users. The next time you think about adding
special effects worthy of Lucas Arts to your program—think
up alternatives as well.
5    Orchestrate Infinite Touch Points
Don’t put all your digital eggs in one basket like a site or
banner campaign—look at smart ways to distribute the
experience across as many touch points as possible.
Be smart about it. Think about how your user thinks and
acts digitally and meet them on their turf. Of course this
doesn’t have to be digital—but in a recession, you might
get more bang for your buck.
6   Prototype Often
Digital tools allow us to prototype rapidly. Sure we can
start with paper—but why? Digital does not equal high
fidelity—use the tools available to use bring new ideas to
life which can help sell ideas during a time when everyone
thinks about the bottom line. Embrace speed.
Break a few rules. Make your digital ideas tangible as
soon as possible.
7    Trade Focus Groups For Digital Ethnography
Research doesn’t have to go out the window as budgets
get squeezed. Look to the internet for insights.
Social Networks and search engines can be rich
ethnography tools. I’m not advocating to abandon field
research—but before you slash that discovery phase, think
about how digital can be used to find things about the
behavior of your target.
8    Think Outside The Banner
The recession presents a great opportunity to think about
traditional media buys such as banners differently. Online
banners are usually the first line of offense in a digital
initiative—but there are ways to think about them
differently. Quality may replace quantity—Apple’s recent
entry into the online banner space taught us that banners
can still work—but the ROI improves with creativity. If
you’re going to go with online banners, less could be more
and creativity may be the best tool in your box.
9       Embrace Delight By Functionality
   Listen to Jared Spool when he talks about delight by
   functionality. When tempted to cut budgets in digital
   product functionality—think again. Adding or improving
   existing functionality may lead to product preference
   which increases revenue, sales and even saves money. All
   good things in a recession.




Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: rodcorp
10          Listen
 Digital gives you many ways to listen to customers –
 from direct engagement like Dell’s IdeaStorm to simple
 surveys or even A:B testing. All are excellent examples of
 using digital to turn up the volume on customer desires.
 Those brands that do the best job listening will weather any
 downturn. Listening doesn’t always mean doing exactly
 what the customer tells you—but it can make what you
 decide to do that much better.

Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: Bluepeony
10                             Ways Digital Can Help You

          Thrive In A Recession
David Armano
VP | Critical Mass
Logic + Emotion | darmano.typepad.com
Twitter: @armano
                                                  criticalmass.com

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10 Ways Digital Can Help You Thrive in a Recession

  • 1. 10 Ways Digital Can Help You Thrive In A Recession David Armano VP | Critical Mass Logic + Emotion | darmano.typepad.com Twitter: @armano criticalmass.com
  • 2. The question isn’t if we’re heading into a recession. It’s how bad will it be—and what we learn from it? As marketing budgets feel the squeeze of the housing crisis and a slowing U.S. Economy, now is a good time to think about opportunities. That’s right. Opportunities. It just happens that the digital medium could be your best friend in a time when belts tighten. Here’s a few though starters for how digital can help your business or brand thrive in a recession: Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: Photogrammaton
  • 3. 1 Live by the rules of The Beta Economy No other medium allows you to launch, test, re-launch, test, measure, tweak, re-tweak, evolve, re-launch, quite like the Web. Folks like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin preach about this all the time. Guy launched his Truemors service on a shoestring budget and uses Twitter to promote it. When budgets get cut—look to digital for new ways of testing out ideas vs. big bang and big budget initiatives (think Bud.TV)
  • 4. 2 Leverage Existing Platforms Why build from scratch when you can use Wordpress as a CMS, Basecamp as a collaboration tool and Concept Share as a way to co-create. Now is a great time to dig into the already existing platforms (in addition to existing social networks). While building from scratch has its place, there are more options than ever to tap into a service that just might do the job.
  • 5. 3 Switch Tubes Consider skipping mass TV all together. It worked for BMW films and with YouTube firmly in place—it can even work with less production values and high priced talent. Consider ways to make the participant the star.
  • 6. 4 Don’t Just Entertain, Engage When we turned on our “Always in Beta” cam for the first time—we noticed something immediately. People who were using it on either side were engaged. In fact, they were captivated. The simple act of live video and live chat using free 2.0 tools ended up being a practical way to engage users. The next time you think about adding special effects worthy of Lucas Arts to your program—think up alternatives as well.
  • 7. 5 Orchestrate Infinite Touch Points Don’t put all your digital eggs in one basket like a site or banner campaign—look at smart ways to distribute the experience across as many touch points as possible. Be smart about it. Think about how your user thinks and acts digitally and meet them on their turf. Of course this doesn’t have to be digital—but in a recession, you might get more bang for your buck.
  • 8. 6 Prototype Often Digital tools allow us to prototype rapidly. Sure we can start with paper—but why? Digital does not equal high fidelity—use the tools available to use bring new ideas to life which can help sell ideas during a time when everyone thinks about the bottom line. Embrace speed. Break a few rules. Make your digital ideas tangible as soon as possible.
  • 9. 7 Trade Focus Groups For Digital Ethnography Research doesn’t have to go out the window as budgets get squeezed. Look to the internet for insights. Social Networks and search engines can be rich ethnography tools. I’m not advocating to abandon field research—but before you slash that discovery phase, think about how digital can be used to find things about the behavior of your target.
  • 10. 8 Think Outside The Banner The recession presents a great opportunity to think about traditional media buys such as banners differently. Online banners are usually the first line of offense in a digital initiative—but there are ways to think about them differently. Quality may replace quantity—Apple’s recent entry into the online banner space taught us that banners can still work—but the ROI improves with creativity. If you’re going to go with online banners, less could be more and creativity may be the best tool in your box.
  • 11. 9 Embrace Delight By Functionality Listen to Jared Spool when he talks about delight by functionality. When tempted to cut budgets in digital product functionality—think again. Adding or improving existing functionality may lead to product preference which increases revenue, sales and even saves money. All good things in a recession. Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: rodcorp
  • 12. 10 Listen Digital gives you many ways to listen to customers – from direct engagement like Dell’s IdeaStorm to simple surveys or even A:B testing. All are excellent examples of using digital to turn up the volume on customer desires. Those brands that do the best job listening will weather any downturn. Listening doesn’t always mean doing exactly what the customer tells you—but it can make what you decide to do that much better. Photo Uploaded to Flickr By: Bluepeony
  • 13. 10 Ways Digital Can Help You Thrive In A Recession David Armano VP | Critical Mass Logic + Emotion | darmano.typepad.com Twitter: @armano criticalmass.com