Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

The photo at the top of this blog page is one that I took a year or so ago. It’s sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean, about 200 miles from the nearest land.

I was helping a good friend bring his 38 foot catamaran sail boat from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands to Brunswick, GA. That’s about 1100 miles in a straight line – more like 1300 the route we took, meandering up through the Turks & Caicos and Bahamas. There were just three of us on the boat. You don’t stop when it gets dark if you’re 200 miles from the nearest land and in 1500 feet of water. So we take turns driving the boat. All night long, one guy is driving and navigating, one guy is dozing nearby in the cockpit and the third guy, who just went off watch, gets 4 hours of sleep below in the cabin.

It gets pretty dark on a small boat in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean. With no moon, you can’t see 20 feet in any direction from the boat. You have to trust that you read the charts correctly, that your navigation and course-setting were correct, that you entered the information correctly in the GPS system – all this while sleep deprived. Then, you have to hope that something doesn’t go “bump in the night” – like hitting a large cargo container that has fallen from a huge cargo ship (this happens much more frequently than we’d like). You have to trust that you did everything correctly – and then just keep driving the boat.

Finally, after a night that seems as if it’s 20 hours long, there’s a bit of light on the eastern horizon. The sun is about to come up. This is the moment that I chose to snap the photo above.

What’s this got to do with marketing? After all, that’s hopefully why you’ve read this far. The experience I’ve just described is a lot like where we as marketers are at the start of the new year – 2009.

2008, especially the last half, was like that dark night in the middle of the ocean. We’re not sure where we were, couldn’t see what was in front of us, had no idea of where the bottom was and kept hoping that nothing would go “bump in the night.”

As we experience the dawn of 2009, we need to be ever vigilant that we’re reading our business charts correctly, that we’re setting the correct marketing course, and that glimmer of light in the east is the dawn of better times.

Like the three guys on that trip on the ocean, many of us will need to go places that we’ve never been before in order to keep our businesses viable and our customers loyal.

I hope to use this blog to share some thoughts, ideas, concepts, whatever you want to call them, to help you chart your course through the rough water of the present economy. That’s the key – chart a good course, and then keep driving the boat.


bvi-us-leg2-team-3502Left to Right: Mike Ventura, Mike Glover, Cha-Cha Thompson, somewhere off Acklin’s Island, Bahamas.


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