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SES NY: Survival of the Fittest
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So the morning of Day One of SES NY is progressing nicely even with the Elton John music that they keep playing in between sessions. The Guy Kawasaki keynote was amazing, even though it started 15 minutes late.

The current session that I am in is entitled, "Survival of the Fittest 2.o" from the "Search and the Fear Economy" track. Moderated by Sara Holoubeck featuring Bryan Eisenberg, Jason Siment, Bob Myhal, and Kevin Lee. This session's featured speakers who survived the first downturn in online marketing aka the tech bubble burst circa 1999. The session kept being interrupted by the late folks who kept coming in. Maybe one of the sessions they should offer should be on time management.

Anyways the session started with a brief history of each of the speakers. Kind of a retro thing happening there where they talked about competitors who have fallen by the waste side.

Some of the interesting items discussed as part of the session:
  • everytime you "re-set" your company to adjust to the economic times, the competitive landscape gets redefined
  • in difficult times you really need to offer exceptional customer service; your most valuable resource can be your existing customers
  • communicate often with your clients
  • target niches and dominate these niches; provide them with value and they will promote you and evangelize you in the social spaces such as Twitter
  • Bryan pointed out that Americans are number illiterate and they need to adopt the Japanese business approach of Kaizan or Six Sigma to learn about and apply continuous improvement and grow
  • an abundance of capital can lead to lazy marketing was one of the items that Bob mentioned. How many of us have seen this before?
  • In difficult times, you need to really analyze your analytics to try and understand what your visitors are doing --> listen to your customers
We'll add that in difficult times there are two things that you can do:
  1. Remain status quo and try to hold on and hope you come out alive
  2. Get aggressive and build new relationships and strengthen your existing ones.
The session was ok, a little vague on the strategy side of things. It was kind of an open session with a few questions from the audience. Interesting topic though. I'm a firm believer that during difficult times, it's better to go on the offensive rather than the defensive. Think of a hockey team struggling on the powerplay. They may overthink their plays and as a result remain defensive and not break out of their slump or even worse may give up a shorthanded goal when in fact all they needed to do was get on the offensive and drive more shots at the net and get some traffic in front to bang a powerplay goal in. "Get busy dieing or get busy living" from the Shawshank Redemption says it all. In tough economic times, don't just ride out the storm, hang out in the rain and listen to the thunder.

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