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Figment Design's Jeffrey Pankey Says Inflationary Market is Opportune Time to Tailor Business Development Efforts

Today's volatile market is no time for businesses to slide into complacency, a top ad agency executive says, but rather an opportune moment to focus on being more productive. 

"If you're in business of any kind, whatever industry you're in, this is the time to focus on new opportunities, be deliberate with the people you meet and build relationships," says Jeffrey Pankey, founder and president of Miami-based Figment Design, adding that by being selective in where they sow, businesses can help to set the stage for future success. 

With nearly three decades of experience in the advertising and hospitality industries, Pankey is well-versed in the ups and downs of business, and he's learned to be patient in uncertain, quickly changing waters - a skill he's developed after years as a captain and fisherman. "The new norm seems like it is going to be as finicky as the weather forecast, always changing and hard to predict," he observed. 

"Fishing, odd as it may sound, has taught me a lot about marketing and business," he says. "A lot of the old fishing adages apply to what we do. 'Target your species', for example, means to focus on your potential client and don't waste money in areas of least return. Take the right bait and equipment with you, don't waste time on shiny objects that don't work. Look at all kinds of opportunities, big and small - sometimes the largest fish takes more time and energy to catch and doesn't even taste good." 

While the current economic climate is replete with uncertainty, Pankey, who is a boat captain, says that turbulent waters are usually teeming with opportunity. "In these rough seas, many people are going through the same issues and have a similar story, so be prepared to listen and share your story, find common ground to build upon," he advises.

Even though many businesses are just staying afloat amidst a challenging environment, Pankey acknowledges that "this is still a great time to prepare for the next chapter. It will not always be a struggle; the market will not always be volatile. As we ride out the difficulties now, our preparation today will pay dividends when things get smoother."

Similar to a fishing trip, good business development requires preparation, he says. "Where a fisher would ensure he or she has the required fishing license, gear and attire, a marketing professional might gather a business plan (chart), engage the right technology to find the perfect target (GPS), and have what they are looking for (the right bait)." 

Armed with the mindset that today's environment is rife with opportunity, Pankey encourages businesses to take a fresh look at old ways of operating. "Think about similar or parallel markets you haven't tapped yet, what inroads can you look for there? Instead of new markets, how can you increase your market share? What conferences will you attend in 2023? What promotions can your business offer next season to help overcome this season? Who can you engage with on social media to create a business relationship? The possibilities are truly endless," Pankey shares. 

Pankey's "Fishing Tips for Business Success" 

Use GPS to get in the zone. There is so much technology that can tell you where the fish are. Use technology to find your next client. 

Go where the fish will be. We don't always fish right on top of the fish. In fact, in many cases we anticipate where the fish will be and patiently set up at a distance and wait for them to come to us. 

Use the correct lures. Always have various marketing tactics at hand but know how and when to use them. You'll get a more quality catch that way. 

Reel in your catch carefully. Be calm, especially when closing deals. Too much tension on the line will break it every time. Don't force it, or you'll spook the fish and your potential client. 

Share your catch with those in need. Sharing your bounty is never a bad idea. Not only is it a kind approach to life, but you never know how your generosity may come back to you later on down the line. 

Figment is a full-service advertising and marketing agency of designers, website developers and digital marketers. For more information, visit