One year later, business goes on

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IN THIS ISSUE, BtoB explicitly considers that horrific day a year ago. Our coverage includes a story on how marketers plan to acknowledge Sept. 11 and a story on a turbulent year for the airlines, the industry most directly affected by the terrorist attacks.

Kate Maddox’s story quotes Bigfoot Interactive CEO Al DiGuido, who says he is unaware of any marketers planning to halt their e-mail messaging in recognition of Sept. 11. “For most, it will be business as usual,” he says.

BtoB’s monthlong Web poll supports this belief. The poll found 48.7% of marketers had no specific plans for Sept. 11.

Sean Callahan’s Page 1 story on airlines, which by some accounts have seen a 20% reduction in business travelers since last September, paints a gloomy picture—billions lost, bankruptcies and brand erosion. Nevertheless, there is a bright spot: low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines, which has leapt on the opportunity to market to cost-conscious business travelers with a series of memorable and humorous TV spots. (One remembers those dour commentaries a year ago that wondered if airlines would ever again use humor in their advertising.)

Both of these stories fundamentally demonstrate that business invariably goes on—despite loss, danger, mistakes and uncertainty. More than that, look around you and you’ll notice the creative ways successful businesses are reaching customers, investors and partners. The methods are varied, ranging from clever brand advertising to customer-facing technologies on Web sites. But all share a common faith that creativity and risk-taking are the roads to success.

That’s a powerful, uplifting message. It should be taken to heart by those businesspeople, deeply anxious about a “double dip” recession at home and the prospect of war abroad, who seem about to fall into a self-fulfilling prophecy by deciding the right course of action is inaction.

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