If you are in the information marketing business, you may be interested in my thoughts about how the Corona Crisis presents an opportunity for growth and strength in the future. This is an excerpt from a memo I wrote to one of our publishers of economic and investment information in Europe.
I believe the economic and social crisis we are experiencing will change the way our readers think forever more.
During the last 10 years, the world benefited from an artificial but huge bull market in the USA. That is over now. We are in a recession. Millions of people will lose jobs. Tens of thousands of businesses will close.
Things may start improving in six months or a year. But the trauma our customers have experienced from seeing their stock portfolios crash from being quarantined for weeks or longer will change the way they think and feel about investing forever.
During this just-ended bull market, practically everything we sold was profitable. Some of the ideas we sold were based on fear – the fear of a market collapse that we are seeing today. Most of the ideas we sold were bullish and were gobbled up by the madness of crowds hoping for ever-higher ROIs.
We grew so quickly during those years that we couldn’t help but hire a few analysts and writers that had a limited understanding of economics and finance. Their theories were sometimes thin. And their ability to express themselves was sometimes clumsy.
This was only a small portion of our creative people, but it was the source of a serious problem. Because the country was so mesmerized by the stock market’s growth, they seemed to sell as well as our best thinkers and writers.
As I said, I have a hunch those days are past. And if that’s true, our future will depend on eliminating the 20% of our thinkers, writers, and products that are not first-rate and replacing them with people and products that are.
Here’s how I see it: There is IQ, which indicates a person’s ability to solve all sorts of intellectual problems. There is Emotional IQ, which indicates a person’s ability to thrive in social situations. And there is Literary IQ, which indicates a writer’s ability to articulate smart ideas elegantly.
* Big for us = macro, universal, and game-changing
* Smart for us = big, fresh, contrarian, and exciting
* Elegant for us (and for all writing) = concise, subtle, and respectful of the reader’s intelligence
We are a business that sells ideas – analysis, insight, precautions, and advice. Our products are not newsletters or alert services or webinars or the rest. Those are formats of communication. Our products are our elegantly articulated smart ideas.
To improve our products ,we must improve our ideas. And we can do that only by hiring and supporting high IQ writers.
That said, I don’t believe that bullish ideas are going to stop selling. I believe, as I said, that we are going through a fertile time to create big audiences by promoting great articulators of big, smart ideas. But the higher Literary IQ writers and thinkers we have now will be able to contribute to the conversation our customers want to have. We’ve already seen evidence of that lately in the USA.
We may be going into an economic depression, but there are opportunities for profit in depressions. We have to support our high Literary IQ bulls as well.
I know that sounded pompous. Forgive me. Whenever I grab onto a new idea, I feel pompous. And despite my many worries, I’m shifting towards a pompous mood.