So let’s face it, most people are at least a little on edge as they look forward to the year to come.

Business owners especially.

So I want to remind you of three semi-famous business quotes:

1. “An Uncertain Buyer Never Says Yes” — a famous copywriter dictum, sometimes with “confused” in place of “uncertain.”

2. “Nobody Ever Got Fired For Going With IBM” — a pithy summation of IBM’s selling strategy, also referred to as “FUD” for “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt”

3. “Bad News Is An Investor’s Best Friend” — Warren Buffet’s philosophy on handling downturns in the market.

So what do these quotable quotes have to do with your business growth?

Let’s take it one quote at a time…

An Uncertain Buyer Never Says Yes

When times are tough — or uncertain — people tend to hold on to their money more tightly.

Because, as we know, an uncertain buyer never says yes.

This means that if sales is a transference of confidence — and it is — then your job in uncertain times is to give customers enough added certainty that it overcomes their general apprehensions about the future.

And, yet, it also pays to meet the customer where they’re at.

If they’re looking for cheaper options or less up-front investment, then it pays to have those options available for them.

Still… no matter how cheap the option, you still need customers to buy.

And that requires certainty.

  • Certainty that they really do need what you’re selling.
  • Certainty that it’s the right choice.
  • Certainty that you’ll stand behind your product and work.
  • And — most important — certainty that you really and truly are on their side.

The last is the most important because a slight case of paranoia is a side-effect of uncertainty and economic stress.

Is this person really helping me here, or are they trying to put one over on me?”

So… what are you doing to reassure your customers that you genuinely are on their side?

That you have their best interests at heart?

That you’re offering them the best options available to them?

That you and your business are, in fact, the best option available?

When you’re uncertain and scared, what you really want is a friend. A friend able to help — AKA, a hero.

Be that friend, offer that help, and you’ll succeed, even in uncertain times.

Of course, doing that in person will help you win the sale.

But doing that in your advertising will win you the opportunity to make the sale.

If you’re not happy with the number of “at-bats” you’re getting these days, check if your advertising is painting you as a friend to customers — someone on their side and committed to helping them.

If not, it’s time to make an adjustment.

Nobody Ever Got Fired By Going With IBM

Has it ever struck you as weird that public speaking is a greater fear than death?

By that logic, you’re worse off giving the eulogy than being the one in the casket!

Doesn’t make sense — unless you understand the abject horror of public humiliation.

‘Cause if you die, you’re not around to witness it. But if you make a fool of yourself on stage…

So when it comes to your business, understand that a great many of your customers fear making the wrong decision — and having to live with it — more than they fear paying too much.

This is what IBM leveraged when they used Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to undermine competitors’ cheaper and better bids.

What’ll happen if you go with that upstart competitor and then they can’t deliver?

Or if they deliver but then go out of business and you can’t get your IT system serviced and it’s all YOUR fault?

Is saving some money really worth the risk?

IBM understood that when you have to trust an outside expert, your confidence in the expert is more important than the numbers on a proposal.

After all, the only thing worse than spending a lot on a purchase is spending a lot on a purchase and then not getting what you needed — while having the people closest to you know (or suspect) that you got rooked.

Because Identity-Based Decisions usually win out over Cost-Benefit considerations.

So… what are you doing to convince customers and prospects that you are, in fact, the safe choice?

The company that’ll absolutely guarantee they’ll get what they want — and never have to experience regret for choosing you.

And, again, this is great in-person for sales, but it’s even better in your advertising.

Bad News Is an Investor’s Best Friend

Smart investors know to buy when blood is on the streets and everyone else is selling.

For advertising, that means investing in mass media when competitors are pulling back and hunkering down.

Because make no mistake, long-term branding campaigns are indeed an investment in the future.

And the best time to either start or double down on that branding investment is when everyone else is cutting back.


Share of Voice and Share of Mind.

When everyone else stops talking over the airwaves, and you keep talking…

Then your voice wins the day.

And if what you’re saying is offering certainty in an uncertain world, then your share of mind explodes.

This isn’t theory. Marketing has over a century’s worth of data on the effects of advertising during depressions, recessions, and downturns.

So what does that data show?

Companies that continue advertising in a downturn leap-frog their competition once the business climate turns better.

Plus, in terms of growing during the downturn, it’s simple:

If the overall market shrinks, and you want to grow, you’ll need to steal that growth from competitors.

And since the data also shows that share of the market follows the share of voice, you either maintain or increase your branding investment, or you shrink.

Your Business Growth in 2024

So here’s the deal: the best way to grab more market share and grow during a decline is by persuading the customer you’re able to give them what they want most right now:

  • Certainty
  • Assurance
  • Confidence

Along with a friend in the business who’s really and truly on their side.

But there are two sides to that coin:

  1. BEING that business, and
  2. Being KNOWN as that business.

If you’re already that business, I can help you become known as that business.

Let’s team up to make 2024 a turning point year of growth for you.