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Happy New Year! Time for another season of new beginnings.

If you have not yet done so, now’s the time to create your marketing plan for the year and put your plans on the calendar. After that, you might want to take some time to address something that small businesses often overlook: Creating a Marketing Crisis Management Plan. This month’s article provides some tips regarding what to do.


Most companies know that their IT Department needs to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place, but few small businesses realize that their Marketing Department needs one, too. If something should go terribly wrong, how will you respond?

When former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was asked for her advice about crisis management, one of the things she said was “Don’t go in with your hair on fire.” After all, if a leader has their “hair on fire,” everyone else will, too. Always stay calm, and avoid fueling the fire.

Here are some other keys to successful marketing crisis management:

  • Identify the potential dangers – Common marketing problems include damaging comments on social media, inappropriate remarks by management, product problems, and disgruntled former employees spreading rumors. Outline some tentative plans for how you might approach each situation on your list.

  • Develop situational strategies – While you can’t predict exactly what will go wrong, you can develop general strategies, including steps you’ll routinely take regardless of the crisis. For example, it’s best to always be honest, take responsibility as appropriate, and avoid arguing or deleting comments on social media sites.

  • Create a plan – Your plan should include:

    • Identifying responsibilities – Who will be responsible for what?

    • Monitoring social media – You want to be one of the first to know if a social media crisis hits.

    • Responding very quickly – The first 24 hours are crucial. For social media crises this includes being able to create multi-media content (YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts, press releases, etc.) on a few hours’ notice.

  • Do fire drills – Invent a crisis and practice putting your plan into action.

Keep in mind that if you handle things well the crisis will eventually blow over; your company will likely be judged by its response.


Diane Kinsella of SuccessQuest Coaching & Consulting specializes in helping people get through life’s transitions, crises and changes. She uses an empowering, solution-oriented approach that guides clients towards creating lives and careers that brings happiness, meaning and balance. It’s holistic, supportive, non-judgmental and based on each person’s innate strengths. To learn more, visit the website that I wrote for her.

What Others Are Saying

"Each time I work with Linda, I am reminded just how well she understands marketing. Linda understands the principles of marketing on a psychological level. She sees the bigger picture. She is pragmatic, insightful and incredibly fast."

Kristine Putt,
Owner and Brand Identity Designer, Paragon Moon