What Marketers Can Learn from the 2013 US Government Shutdown

While it’s definitely not the first time that Republicans and Democrats arrived at a dreaded stalemate, the fact that it happened at this day and age is a bit demoralizing, not to mention damaging to a lot of sectors. Internet technology and social media, both which are not yet fully developed during the last government shutdown (1995-96), are already blossomed today, and one would think a shutdown is not likely to happen amidst the public eye.

The 16-day shutdown was caused by a disagreement for the funding of 2014 budget, with particular focus on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),more commonly known as ObamaCare. During the deadlock, an estimated 800,000 government employees were furloughed, and 1.3 million were required to work without know payment schedules.

What lessons can brand marketers get from this event?

Shutting down means giving up. In business, marketers should always seek to work through a problem and find solutions, which sometimes mean that one should learn how to be open-minded.

 Shake hands with your competition.  Competitions also need a break. Temporarily putting heads together can help a business better deal with trends and might be an opportunity for sharing equipment, information, promotions and skills that could benefit both entities.

Learn how to compromise. Your business client is your partner. The goal is to deliver what is expected by the client, and not the other way around. As a business you should find it as a privilege that another company has committed to work with you, therefore it is your duty to make sure everything is working and will not lead to a shutdown.

Discover help within the office. In times of crisis, you would need all the help you could get. Remember that each person can make a valuable contribution to the damage control process. Putting these talents to work can help bring the company back up and running.

Address problems as they come up. Always appraise the client if you anticipate any potential problems. If you sense a forthcoming crisis early on, let everyone know about it and plan on how to deal with it when it comes. Don’t wait for the crisis to stun you before you could do anything.

Maintain a positive attitude in all relations. Most crises and conflicts arise out of emotions, not logic. As long as an optimistic view is kept, anticipating and solving problems would be easier.