8 Stormy Marketing Insights

western-suburbs-chicago-storm-power-outageDo you have power?

That’s the question that’s been buzzing around in my town. For three days, for us, the answer was no. A tumultuous storm passed through on Sunday, knocking out power, shutting down businesses and leaving tons of tree debris in its wake.

Knowing that so many, many other people were going through this experience made it easier to bear the heat and the inconvenience.

As I sat in yet another camp of power hungry workers listening to their stories at a local coffee shop, I was struck by the enlightenment that comes with being power-less.

Eight Stormy Marketing Insights

We use way too much power. Try single tasking.

Growing up, my parents would tell us to turn out the lights whenever we left a room. When the kitchen was clean and dinner was over, the kitchen was dark. There was no need to keep a room lit up if people weren’t in it. With the exception of the dishwasher, washer and dryer, a few outlets and lights, I realized how much power we waste every day. With high heat warnings, air conditioning is not a luxury, it's a necessity.

How much power are you running? In your business, you may be firing on too many circuits all at once. What would happen if you put your full power into one project at a time?

Chunk the work. Chuck the email.  Update as needed.

When there’s no power at your office, you have to go out looking for it.  So I set up camp at Panera, the library and Caribou Coffee.

Giving myself a two-hour time slot at each place forced me to set priorities. “Here’s what I can get done here” became my mantra.

Tracking time in two hour chunks was much easier than sitting at the same desk all day. I realized I really didn’t need to check email, or my social networks, more than twice a day.

How about you? How often do you check email?

Keep your shelves clean. Fresh is best.

The weekend before the storm hit, I was struck by an unexpected urge to clean out the refrigerator.

It took me at least an hour and I didn’t even get to all of the shelves in the door or the freezer.

So when the power went out, we had less to toss than we might have. But, I couldn’t believe how stuffed the freezer was.

What are you hanging onto that could be tossed? Is your messaging fresh or frozen?

Only go to market when you need to.

I’ll admit that I go grocery shopping way too much. Maybe it’s because I grew up going to the grocery store to see my dad at work.

Whatever the reason, the three-day break was a good lesson in being aware of exactly what we needed to survive. It wasn’t really that much.  When do you overbuy?

Check the order before you take it.

Because we didn’t have power or coffee at home, I treated the boys to breakfast out.

At one fast food restaurant the service as fast and the order was perfect. We even got a giant iced coffee included with the meal deal.

At the other, we didn’t get one item and another was wrong. Plus, the iced coffee was tiny.

My mistake? I didn’t check the order before I drove off. I went back once for my oatmeal. But, I didn’t go back to snag the sausages that were supposed to be on the biscuits.

Are you giving your customers everything they order? Better yet – do you know what they want?

Blow out the candles. Wear a headlamp.

With no power on at all, it gets really dark at night. Driving through our neighborhood was eerie.

The only light came from cars as their headlights pierced through the darkness.

Inside, we used only a few tea lights to illuminate our home. Candles cast small lights and they’re dangerous. We wore headlamps instead.

Wearing an LED headlamp shines the way and puts the light exactly where you want it. Even when you take it off, the whole room lights up. Where are the dark spots in your business?

Monitor updates. Leap into action.

After the storm hit, my husband continually monitored the power company's progress site. The moment he saw a change in our neighborhood’s status he called and asked, “Where are you now?”

“I’m at Caribou working. Why?” I answered.

“I think the power is back on. Can you go home and check?” he asked.

When I turned into the driveway, a light in the living room was shining. We never use it, except when it’s really dark outside.  I called my son so we could start emptying the fridge and go to the grocery store to restock. How do you monitor progress and leap into action?

Turn off electricity. Get closer.

When our three kids were in grade school we “celebrated” Turn Off TV and Technology Week. They weren’t happy about tuning totally out of the devices that entertained them. And, to be honest, there were some moments that I wanted to give up and let them plug back in.

But, we all valued the time we spent together in the electronics free zone.  The power outage brought the unexpected gift of time to regroup over unplanned family dinners and outings.

One of my favorite moments was riding around at night listening to our 17 year old singing “Memory Motel” along with Mick Jagger.

Life’s made of little memory moments.  We get so caught up in texting, emailing and updating.

What memories will your customers have when they think of doing business with your company or organization?

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