If there is to be a recovery to the current downturn it must be lead by marketers.

My sincerest apologies to those in finance, design, operations, administration, management or engineering; your fate rests in the hands of marketers.

For all non-marketers, before you dispel what little remaining hope you had of keeping your house and mid range European car during 2009 because your financial fortune rests on those crazy people on the other side of the office playing with the free promotional gifts, please read on.

Who is a marketer?

Anyone who dares listen to a consumer, understand what he or she wants and work out a way to deliver it to them.

Sometimes marketers have the description ‘designer’ on their business card, or sometimes ‘sales’ or some times ‘general manager’ or ‘CEO’ – sometimes even ‘finance’. (Ouch, did I really say that!)

The only way Mr and Mrs Consumer will start to spend more is if brands start to work out where Mr and Mrs Consumer are dissatisfied and work on solving those problems.

The last time I checked the GNH (Gross National Happiness Index, yes, crazy, but this does exist) some of us, apparently most of us, are a bunch of very unhappy people.

Please excuse my callous capitalism for a moment. This is entirely a good thing for marketers facing a possible recession.

Unhappy = dissatisfied = problems = new solutions needed = value created = desire for solution = transaction.

Is buying more stuff really going to make us happy? No, the last 16 years of unprecedented economic growth in Australia has proven that.

Personal happiness is not the objective.

A consumer’s unhappiness is merely the door to the over flowing cupboard of dissatisfaction.

This dissatisfaction will reveal where the problems lie in your products and your competitors products.

Treat these problems as big, very big, buckets of raw opportunity. Take one portion of raw opportunity, mix it liberally with well oiled creativity and bake in a hot oven.

It’s a well proven fact, when freshly cooked solutions are placed in front of hungry, problem fed consumers, they begin to eat.

This is the year the marketer must stand up and cook.

For my sake; for your sake.

Perhaps we haven’t had such an important year in business for the marketing discipline for quite some time.

Marketers, of all descriptions, sizes, skills and ages, please stand up!