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Marketing Speaker Says Uncertainty Causes Uncertainty | Marketing Wizard's Alliance

Marketing Speaker Says Uncertainty Causes Uncertainty

By Jim Ackerman · Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

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Uncertainty Is Certainly… Uncertain

Back in August of ’09 I wrote a column excoriating the government for killing the economy by fostering an environment of uncertainty. Here’s a portion of what I wrote…

“Here’s why the American economy isn’t going anywhere good, anytime soon. Nobody has a clue what to expect. With cap and trade on the table, how do you buy a car, or open a plant, or invest in traditional energy, or do anything that takes energy? You can’t. You can’t run the risk of making a decision that makes sense in today’s world but not in tomorrow’s.

“How about healthcare? Do you switch plans, keep what you’ve got, look to the government, don’t expect anything out of them? Who knows? How can you hire somebody when you don’t know whether that person will be profitable to have on-board in your company or not?

“And as an individual, you can’t buy health insurance today. Will it be around tomorrow? Will it even be legal?

“You can’t buy a car or a home or anything else. If I buy a bigger home, the energy costs, which I can afford today, could bankrupt me tomorrow.

“And finally, how can I buy anything? I don’t know what my money will be worth tomorrow. I’d better hang on to whatever I’ve got.

“Tell me you don’t feel this way. I know you do, because nobody is buying anything. We’re in the throes of “political paralysis.” (Click here to read the rest of that column.)

Perhaps it’s time for us to revisit the issue and see where things stand.

Recent economic news suggests that things are getting better. Then again, the government claims the recession ended about the time I wrote that column, 16 months ago. Anybody buying that?

Still some indicators are positive. But have the fundamentals changed?

As of this writing, it looks like there won’t be any tax increases in 2011. It hasn’t happened yet, but Congress and The White House appear to have taken the message from the November elections, that the people don’t want a tax hike. Of course, the “stay of execution” is just that… a stay, not a pardon. The postponement is for two years. (About 16 months, really, when you consider that questions regarding taxes will certainly re-emerge at the beginning of the 1012 campaign, and start really playing on our cultural psyche before the election.)

So the question you have to ask yourself is, how many people will feel “certain” enough about the state of the tax code to say to themselves, “I can now make that capital investment. I can now hire those two new people. I can now add a new location, because the tax situation is stable enough and will stay that way long enough that I can make that decision pay.”

Surely, some will take that risk. I can assure you, a large number of people will not. The long-term view remains too uncertain.

What about healthcare? Surely the recent court decision striking down the provision of Obamacare unconstitutional will lend stability to that situation.

Not on your life. In fact the situation is now more unstable and uncertain than ever. The administration has already indicated they will appeal. There remains dozens of lawsuits against many, if not all provisions of the bill, and we’ve already seen fairly dramatic leaps in our insurance costs.

What’s an employer to do? What’s a consumer to do? More uncertainty.

How about cap and trade? The pundits suggest that it is basically dead with the new GOP controlled House of Representatives. But didn’t those same Republicans compromise with the administration on incentives for companies involved in production of renewable resource energy? Personally, I’m not convinced those things are bad, but they do lead to questions about the state of cap and trade. And coupled with the recent seven-year moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty about America’s energy future.

If you’re a businessman, how can you make decisions about capital investments when you don’t have any clue what it will cost you to run your business once those investments are made?

And finally, what about our money? What’s it worth? What’s it going to be worth? Are we going to get hit with high inflation, high interest rates? A lot of people think so, especially when they see the treasury “monetizing the debt.”

As I said back in ’09, I’m not an economist. I’m a marketing guy. And from a marketing perspective I can tell you this. When in doubt, people do nothing. When in doubt, they do not buy. When in doubt they hang on to what they’ve got, whether that’s in their own best interest or not.

The good news is, “we the people” were successful in mobilizing our marketing will in the last election. We may not be spending a lot of money, but we have spent time and energy, re-engaging in the process.

Most election cycles, the politicians spend their time marketing to us; convincing us to vote for them. This time, I believe we turned the tables on them. We took our message to them. We marketed loud and clear to them. Many of them listened. Not all, but many. We saw a mighty change.

Now, one of the most important rules of marketing is, when you find something that works, keep doing it. We the people have found a message. I suggest we keep riding that horse until we can bring certainty back to the society, the culture and the marketplace.

Then, and only then, will we see the stability that will allow people to unleash their pent up need and want to get back to producing and consuming. Then our marketing efforts will flourish again.

THE END

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Ackerman is a Salt Lake City-based Marketing Speaker, Writer and Marketing Coach. His new book, How To Market Your Crap When the Economy is in the Toilet, contains 12 vital strategies for unclogging your revenue pipeline. Find it at www.marketyourcrap.com, or email mail@ascendmarketeing.com. Or call 800.584.7585 for a free report called The 9 Essential Selling Secrets that Guarantee You’ll Never Worry About Lousy Sales Again.

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