Fatalism vs Pronoia

Schumpeter’s gale is blowing pretty hard and knocking many business models flat. Tech innovators can handle that but what about our customers?

My clients are falling into one of two camps.

  1. Fetal position
  2. Opportunity position

The fetal position just means you are laying low. No new hires, no new overhead, save, scrimp, wait it out. This approach comes with comforting maxims such as, “take this time to catch up on your process” or “fix up your marketing assets”. Fix up for whom and for what problem? You might call it a fatalist position. For some, it will work.

But the latter group, the Opportunity position, is business pronoia – the tendency to believe that the world is benevolently conspiring to provide your business with new opportunities.

Pronoia during a pandemic? How does that happen and where do you notice it happening?

For once, start with the news.

The news is uncovering unprecedented problem types, as opposed to the same old issues that usually comprise its fodder. 9-11 was bitter, horrifying tragedy on repeat, for longer than I care to remember. But the COVID pandemic is no less tragic and will churn many more waters – and business models. That’s how creative destruction works [1].

How does that affect your customers, as B2B solutions providers? 

One of the two eternal truths of B2B marketing is: “Improve demand from end customers of your clients”. You can listen to more about that in chapter 19 of a radio program called This is Marketing, which was also released as a “book”. As a B2B marketing problem, the rise of the LEEDS certification should be studied by anyone who runs a certification nonprofit… why do your customer’s customers read the label?

So let’s just assume this much is true: there are invisible lines between the problems of the general public and those of your customers.

What’s happening to the general public? Let’s glance the New York Times:

Not sure if these stories affect your customers, but somewhere there’s a news story that does.

No? I doubt that but I’ll make it a little easier – look at what’s happening in digital business world since the WHO declared a global pandemic:

Pretty sure these stories – and there are more like them – affect you and your customers’ businesses.

Today I spoke with a high concept B2B merchandising firm. They used to make conference schwag so good you wouldn’t toss on your way back to the hotel room. 

That was two weeks ago.

Next week they want to make masks for grocery store workers. And offer businesses the opportunity to join them in the new economy.

So how are we going to join the new economy – and how do we use marketing[2] to facilitate that process?

Reply and let me know,
Rowan


Footnotes & Errata
  1. Creative destruction basically recognizes that business model churn happens kinda fast in “capitalist societies”, a quaint vestige of a concept referencing a time when the vast majority of the world’s economy wasn’t some form of industrial-technological capitalism 
  2. Definition of marketing: building trust and creating clarity by listening, teaching, and guiding over a long period of time