Has Your Safe Harbor Become a Snare? Now Is the Time to Take Digital Marketing Chances

by Lisa Apolinski, CMC

Arriving to the seventh continent of the world, Antarctica, was both the most breathtaking and most daunting expedition experience. Antarctica has the distinction of being the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on earth. When Ernest Shackleton set out for Antarctica in 1914, he had no concept of what lay ahead for himself and his crew. During the Shackleton expedition, the crew and their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in pack ice. Pack ice is ice that forms out at sea and is not attached to the land. The dangers with pack ice are that it is mobile, so it can be pushed together to make larger and more dense ice formations and it can form quickly and surround a vessel or ship and strand it within the ocean. The movement of the undercurrents and the drop in temperature can make pack ice almost feel as if it has come to life and can crush and destroy ships that are enveloped. The Endurance met such a fate, and the Shackleton crew were left stranded in the coldest months in the South Pole. They were rescued when the ice began to melt and break away and they were able to use lifeboats to travel to South Georgia island.

One of the challenges with visiting Antarctica is that a safe haven, like the one the Endurance was anchored at, can quickly become a snare. The conditions around this immense and stunning landscape change rapidly and unpredictably. These conditions are also similar to what businesses have experienced over the course of the pandemic. Many businesses, when the economic storm hit, quickly moved into a safe harbor. However, those conditions continue to change, and the safe harbor may quickly become a snare.

What are some conditions that can have the safe harbor turn on those organizations who have sought shelter?

Snare #1: The Pack Ice

In the business world, the pack ice is the slow moving, yet deadly, shifts in service, client experience and product/service reliability. These shifts can easily be ignored (or blamed on COVID, labor shortages, etc.) While many customers were being gracious with their expectations, the “pandemic excuse” has become more akin to a broken record. Customers are no longer being accommodating to business shortfalls and, like the pack ice, they will slowly move away to other organizations that are focused on providing an amazing customer service experience. When those customers quietly slip away, businesses may not be aware of the drop in revenue until it is too late. Those same customers will also share their bad experiences online, so finding new clients will be made much harder.

How to get free from snare #1: Get your head back in the business game.

A strong refocus on customer service and support of both customers and employees will provide the momentum to move out of the pack ice and into open water. This is especially important with live chat features. Be sure to provide those workers with as much information as possible, so they can guide customers to the proper solutions and success.

Snare #2: The Wildlife

Wildlife is quite abundant on Antarctica. A variety of penguins, birds and whales makes for a scenic and amazing backdrop. More aggressive wildlife, such as leopard seals, elephant seals and fur seals, position themselves to protect their territory from encroachers. The wildlife for businesses is the market competition. With digital marketing and sales, the competitor pool now is as wide as the waters between South America and Antarctica and can be just as turbulent. Smaller competitors can no longer be ignored, as those smaller businesses can levy a slow death by a thousand digital cuts. Being aware of the smaller, yet up and coming, competition is the first step. Take a competitor audit every six months and, if there is a potential threat on the horizon, follow that competitor a bit more closely.

How to get free from snare #2: Review and improve on the competition.

Some of the best ideas can come from reviewing what has already been done. If a new competitor is disrupting the digital selling space, look at your sales strategy and see what you can add, pivot or remove to allow your organization to ride those disruption waves.

Snare #3: The Elements

Weather patterns can suddenly change for no apparent reason when in and around Antarctica. A sunny day can quicky move into a bad snowstorm. This is due to things like change in ocean currents, changes in wind patterns, etc. These are unpredictable in timing or severity, but predictable in that they can occur, and an eye must be always on the horizon. Businesses have felt that, being in the safety of the harbor, they continue to be protected from these storms. Sadly, when a system wishes to come through and wreak havoc (like labor issues, supply chain issues, inflated gas prices, etc.), even those safe harbors can be affected. Harbors protect because of the land that surrounds the waters, but that same land can trap businesses from being agile and innovative.

How to get free from snare #3: Never fall for business complacency.

Yes, the pandemic greatly slowed down the economy, but the economy is and will continue to move forward. By keeping an eye on the economic horizon, smart businesses can be ready for what lies ahead.

The continent of Antarctica has hidden beauty and knowledge as well as hidden dangers, and several safe harbors that can provide temporary shelter but are not meant to be a permanent solution. Now is the time to take those digital marketing chances and emerge out of the harbor back into the waters of innovative business decisions.

Lisa Apolinski is an international speaker, digital strategist, author and founder of 3 Dog Write. She works with companies to develop and share their message using digital assets. Her latest book, Grow Your Market Share In A Zombie Apocalypse, provides expert insight and tips for businesses wishing to survive in unimaginable economic conditions.

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