Which communications pig are you feeding?

I was driving into work the other morning, enjoying the wintery landscape, when I heard something intriguing on the radio. I’m usually not a fan of National Public Radio as I would rather endure my commute listening to sports talk radio. But with the Indianapolis Colts out of the Super Bowl, it made sense to listen to what was happening in the real world for a change.
As I listened, the NPR reporter was interviewing the CEO of an advertising agency from Finland responsible for a governmental campaign called Don’t Feed the Recession. It’s built around the idea that saving is bad for the economy. Representing this campaign is an evil looking pig with pointed devil-horns and sinister eyes.
As the interview went on, however, I found out that in the US, another campaign called Feed the Pig runs as a direct contradiction to the Finnish government campaign – that for the economy, saving money is good.

This dueling pig story made me laugh at first. Then, as I weighed the two pigs in my head, I was stuck by the Finnish government concept – instead of saving my money during this economic downturn, I should be spending it. If you think about it, it makes sense. Let’s take a look at a very simplistic example of this concept.

Let’s say that at the end of the week I choose to put my paycheck into the bank and save it. All that does is put money in my pocket – but it has no economic impact (yes, I’m sure it has some sort of impact, but this is my blog, so go with me). However, if I were to spend my money on some good or service, than I have a greater economic impact. When I choose to spend money on a new car, I not only help keep the auto dealership in business, but the car manufacturer, the parts suppliers, the service and maintenance organizations, the car insurance companies, and on and on.
So, as I continued driving, another thought hit me – which communication pig are corporate IT departments feeding? And which should they be feeding?
Conventional wisdom says they should be feeding the happy pig from FeedThePig.Org and saving their money – you know, hold on tight to the communication dollars until better economic days come and make due with what you have.
But conventional wisdom lacks insight into the bigger pictures – poor customer service and lowered customer retention rates as a result; your communications provider filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; maintenance fees being paid for outdated communications equipment, etc.
By taking the approach of the Finnish government, however, you can turn that around by spending on communications now. This has a huge impact by setting off a series of events, just like my car buying example above:
  1. It provides the communications infrastructure needed to improve your customer service
  2. Increased customer retention result of improved service
  3. As a result of improved service, revenue increase due to up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
  4. Better customer service acts as a competitive differentiator which attracts new customers which increase revenue
So my question to you is – which pig are you feeding? Before you answer, find out what the experts think. Read our whitepaper IT Spending in a Down Economy: Smart Investments Make for Competitive Advantage to find out what CIOs are saying.
And then let me know! I’d love to hear from you!