I just returned from a productive trip to the Hardware Show in Las Vegas. I knew from the barrage of “discounted rooms still available” emails leading up to the show that it would be smaller than previous years. But — perhaps because most of our clients are doing so well — I wasn’t prepared for it being down by roughly half.
Nearly all the exhibitors I spoke with reported a profitable year – even those who aren’t riding the vegetable gardening boom. While many were unsettled because their sales haven’t followed a typical pattern this year, their numbers were nevertheless up. Two things seemed to be primarily responsible for their success.
First, virtually every profitable company outside of the vegetable gardening arena had made significant changes in their product mix and/or target market. They recognized early on that the economy required them to adapt, and they did so ahead of the curve.
Second, they see marketing in the current economy as an opportunity to gain business from competitors. By contrast, companies that stop marketing because they fear sales will be disappointing fulfill their own prophecy.
I just came across a sentence in Seth Godin’s classic book, Permission Marketing, that sums it up well: “There are only two kinds of companies: brave and dead.”
It was a pleasure being in the company of the brave at the Hardware Show.