Countdown to the End: A Marketer’s Survival Guide

As December 21, 2012 marks the end of the Mayan Calendar — and maybe life as we know it — marketers can learn lessons from others who have neared the brink of extinction and not only lived to tell, but thrived.

"Zombie Businesses" 4 companies that came back to life after almost dying. Apple, Lego, Ford, Old Spice



This infographic by Best Accounting Schools shares the tale of four giants, and their narrow escapes from obliteration. Because it’s wise to learn from the mistakes of others, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Do whatever it takes to retain top talent. You know what they say about hindsight, but take a look at Apple’s rise and fall and how it correlates to Steve Jobs’ employment with the company. Coincidence??? You definitely don’t want to make a staffing mistake that epic.
  • Stay true to your brand’s core. Don’t spread yourself too thin with brand extensions, at least not until your main product or service is taken care of first. If you’re an industry leader, choosing ambitious expansion while neglecting your main category can be fatal.
  • Keep calm & take risks. No one could’ve predicted the 2008 recession in 2006 (well, no one at Ford, anyway). Having an emergency fund of borrowed dollars was a gamble, but it kept the auto giant from having to beg the government for funds like every other U.S. manufacturer.
  • Stay relevant. Brand loyalty from a select few isn’t enough, especially when your biggest fans are pushing 80. Old Spice is THE ultimate case study for rebounding, reaching the younger crowd through social media and viral entertainment.