People keep mentioning Obama’s online campaign to get elected and how all the bells and whistles changed history but if you look at it, it really was nothing more than a well structured database that had great data in it. Obama’s campaign sucked volunteered data in and then used it. What many political campaigns fail to do is either get good initial data or they do nothing after storing it, they let it stagnate. Obama was all about actions and asks once he had the data. Asking for 10 dollars, knowing where you are and asking you to come to a local event etc.
In the good times, there was plenty of money being spent by companies on outside resources: Fixed assets, consultancies, marketing, PR, training and all the rest. Now that’s drying up or has dried up. So many companies that were in the service industries can’t get work now. Many freak out about this but from experience I find that companies need to change slightly and they can get work from the same client, just not the same work. Companies are latching on to what their core products/services are and not altering them or changing them completely. They should. While most companies are being put under extreme pressure to not spend at all, they also know that they need to invest in areas where there is not going to be spend on external resources. So if they take marketing or PR in-house, you can be sure that they’ll want training to make sure they can do the best job. What PR or Marketing firms are giving traiing in 2009? If there is no money to be spent on training areas they normally spent on, you can be sure that they’ll want training on being more cost-efficient. If they no longer buy your physical product, you can be sure they will still invest in other areas.
And my point? Most companies have massive databases of customer details that are sitting there, gathering dust. Why not work on those databases and poll your customers on how they’re getting on in 2009 and what their most pressing needs are? See can you be of help instead of trying to flog something they just don’t need/can’t afford right now. While your exact service might not be needed, the company under pressure in 2009 might need help elsewhere. Trying to sell sun cream when it rains won’t work but if rain is unusual a lot of people will need umbrellas since they wouldn’t have had them up to this point. Find out the needs and then partner if you can’t directly provide that product. It’s outside of the comfortable parameters of many companies which isn’t such a bad thing.
If you’re just starting out and think you have great product you can team up with a company or organisation that has a golden database. When the goings were good and companies spent everywhere, these databases were bursting. Contact the company and confidently pitch your product in the form of a partnership. There is no greater time to get the attention of a potential partner. Everyone listens in 2009. Remember though that Data Protection Laws apply but more importantly not being a spammer applies. Before you ever contact those in the database with an offfer, understand their needs. Done wrong you lose people in the database and anger them, done right you make existing customers happy and better off.