Presidents Letter: Confronting Some New Realities

December 2001
by Linda Ligon

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I received an e-newsletter–an e-memo, really–the other day from the office of Watts Wacker, the wildly inventive and insightful futurist who’s associated with the Stanford Research Institute. His consulting firm, FirstMatter, was hustling clients who need help strategizing in the post-September 11 world of business.

“How do you make an effective post-bombing marketing campaign?” it asked. “Which advertising messages resonate today? What new product opportunities exist for you? Will distribution need a different mix?” Good god, I thought. How crass. How indefensibly opportunistic. That was my first thought, anyway… a thought that came on top of having read another round of intensely painful victim obituaries in The New York Times. Then my second thought was: Free enterprise and a healthy economy.

Doing good business was important before September 11, if only for self-interest. Doing good business today has become almost a patriotic imperative. One message from Washington has been “Spend, spend, spend,” but a healthier version of that, to my mind, is “Make money and keep it circulating in the economy.” The fundamental principles of doing business successfully haven’t really changed. It’s still about creating a product or service that fills a need (books, in our case), and approaching customers with a resonant message. And what resonates today is different than…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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