Will 10% Unemployment be the New Full Employment? It’s all Interim Marketing Now.
With my conservative-realist hat squarely placed upon my shaved head I ask you to consider that the economic environment we are seeing today (August 2009), specifically the unemployment rate, is what we’re going to see for many, many months to come.
I’m not going to be misled by politicians telling me just prior to 2010 elections that the days of milk and honey have returned. I know that the shaking we feel beneath our feet isn’t an earthquake; it is the vibration from countless business plans going through the shredder. There is fear and uncertainty in the land, but we must move forward even if on a different path with a different view of our business model.
Our economic world has changed–big time. I’m not an economist so I can’t and won’t talk about what the change means. I just know the business environment in which I need to succeed and help my clients succeed is very different from the one I was operating in prior to 2009.
What does this mean if you are a CEO or a marketing executive?
I believe that companies are going to be more and more reluctant to hire permanent marketers. Instead, companies will look to fill their needs on demand. They’ll augment skeleton marketing departments with interim and contract talent as they need it.
There is too much uncertainty in the land to confidently invest in a strong and capable marketing department. There is too much volatility in the marketing programs budget to justify a fully staffed marketing department. Better to keep fixed labor costs to a minimum and bring in the rock star interims for a few months as needed. No long-term commitments, no health insurance concerns, just the perfect skills and knowledge applied to the opportunity or problem for a season.
In past years, in a different economic climate, a high percentage of executives in the U.S. would scoff at the idea of relying on interim talent in marketing. Those same executives have no choice now but to seriously consider the interim option. They can’t stop marketing or else their companies will fall prey to the competition. However, they should think twice before burdening the operating budge with a fully-staffed, permanent marketing department.
Here are two sobering stats from The Financial Forecast Center.
They forecast the U-3 unemployment rate in the U.S. to be 11% in February 2010. (A group of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal estimated the unemployment rate for December 2010 will be 9.5%.) We’re looking at 10% unemployment for at least the next 16 months, if you wish to belief these sources.
The other sobering forecast is the GDP. The Financial Forecast Center shows the GDP improving from -3.8% in June 2009 to zero GDP growth in February 2010. I like seeing the numbers heading north, but we can’t expect much, if any, growth for the foreseeable future.
Low growth GDP and 10% unemployment is the new business environment for the U.S.
Those who adapt to the new reality will succeed. Those who manage with an eye in the rearview mirror will stumble.
Let me know directly if you’d like to discuss what an interim marketing solution might look like for your organization. To learn more about interim management within the marketing and sales function check out my book, “Leadership On Demand: How Smart CEO’s Tap Interim Management to Drive Revenue.” It’s also available through Amazon and other online book resellers in paperback and eBook formats.