Phillip Stutts

Committed vs. interested. Which are you?

Committed business owners know that smart marketing is non-negotiable, no matter what the economy looks like. They are committed, consistent, and never waver. They find an opportunity where others see fear.

I love these kinds of people.

Interested business owners are greedy (we are all greedy to some extent so this isn’t a personal indictment), looking for a “get-rich-quick pill”. They are the type that get super interested in an idea (like marketing) until they get distracted by another idea. They chase shiny objects, until a different shiny object passes by.

This lack of focus from the “interested” is devastating when the economy has a downturn.

Which brings me to the coronavirus and what it means for your business. The signs are there, this pandemic is having a MASSIVELY disruptive impact on your business.

Let there be no doubt, in this moment of panic, fear, and uncertainty, if you become committed to your marketing, you will grow your business.

The committed will own the market. The interested will lose.

With the markets in flux, the economy slowing down, and so much uncertainty out there, customers and clients are dying for reassurance. And therein lies an opportunity for you.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, the most common frustration I heard from clients was that everyone’s spending and competing for the same customer/client, and it’s almost impossible to distinguish themselves from their competition.

And I am here to say that this moment — this crazy uncertain moment — is the greatest, easiest chance to overcome the hurdle of distinguishing your business from your competition.

If you are “committed”, here are 5 things you need to know to own the market during this health and economic downturn (and some advice we are giving our own clients in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic):

1. Your competition is operating in fear right now.

It’s so bad, those fools aren’t even “interested”. They are going to put their marketing budget in quarantine. If you are “committed” to being smart with your growth, you will absolutely catapult over them by investing marketing ad dollars RIGHT NOW. This window will not last long — probably a few more weeks or months. Commit.

Example: Think about this. People are spending a lot more time at home, avoiding large crowds and public spaces. Instacart and Postmates have already enacted policies that allow deliveries to be left at the door. Good for them! I’m sure the other big delivery guys, Uber Eats and Grubhub, will eventually follow suit. What do I think these companies should do? Go all-in on their advertising. Promote their service as a way to limit public interactions. Make sure their customers know they are out there to help and make sure they can have at least some sort of creature comfort at home.

2. Your decision to invest precious dollars into marketing right now is critical. 

But you must also eliminate as much risk as possible. The first step? Get a deep understanding of what your current and prospective customer/client is thinking about in this moment: What do they fear, and what do they need? If you invest in deep-data learning to understand their mindset right now, you can use your marketing creative and messaging to deliver what they want.

Example: We are helping our “committed” national pest control company client go “all-in” on their marketing. With people quarantined in their homes and it being springtime, there will be an influx of bugs and pests in all homes. Our data-backed messaging/creative will focus on keeping bugs and dirty rodents (that carry diseases) out of their homes. We are going to push using safe “green products” too. There is a HUGE opportunity to help these customers, we just have to get the message to them.

3. Use customer/client data to deliver the right message and creative to your target market.

If you commit to your marketing in this uncertain economic moment — and deliver poor messaging and creative, it won’t work (and you can’t afford to make mistakes). But whether you are a start-up or an established business, you have the chance to use data messaging to build deep connections with your customer base.

Example: We work with a start-up food company. They sell organic products. The clean eating organic food industry is incredibly competitive right now. But our client knows this is her chance to make a move and own a bigger slice of the pie. In the wake of the coronavirus, organic, clean food is essential to a strong immune system. Our marketing will own that space for them.

4. Ad rates will soon plummet across the board.

Both traditional and digital ad inventory will be cheaper than it has been in years. You can gain a larger share of customers/clients right now. There has never been a greater moment to take a bigger leap in growth than this moment!

Example: We do the marketing for a few “committed” law firms. The data is telling us that there will be a lot of lawsuits around the coronavirus in the months to come — abuse, illegal activity, and fraud. We are positioning these firms to flood that message now. When the lawsuits form in the next few weeks and months, these firms will dominate due to their data-backed marketing investment.

5. Invest in building a deeper connection with your current clients.

How you ask? Current clients buy faster, cheaper, more often, and with more loyalty than prospecting for new ones. Go “all-in” on building a strategy to make those relationships unbreakable.

Example: We work with a huge company in the title and mortgage industry. Their #1 target customers are real estate agents. It’s their most precious relationship in order to be successful. We are aggressively marketing to these real estate agents to assure them that this company has multiple safe alternatives for house purchasing and closing. We are assuring these agents (and their buyers) that this company has a clean and sterilized office to close contracts (and we’re pushing their virtual closing options too).

The coronavirus is leaving all of us unsettled and uncertain. When it comes to the economy, 99% of business owners will become “interested” — meaning they are intimidated at the moment and will be running for cover and false safety.

The 1% of committed business owners know this is their moment of opportunity.

And when the dust settles, the committed will win.


P.S. — You’re not going to find a more compassionate and selfless person than David Meltzer. He’s what entrepreneurship should be in today’s world — and I had the honor to sit and talk with him on his crazy good “The Playbook” podcast. Check out our interview to find out what every business must do with their customer data before spending a dime on marketing. Listen here.

P.P.S. —  In the model of the great Seth Godin, I only write these posts to share ideas and help fellow business owners. It’s a place to learn and grow without fear of being spammed or putting you in a sales funnel. I’m not doing that. If you’re a like-minded individual who might be interested in having these articles sent to you every two weeks, please email me ( or sign up below:

Subscribe (Plus Download Free Gift)