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Great marketing for lousy economic times

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Recessions are periods of opportunity that can be taken advantage of or which can take advantage of you. The following are four reasons why you should capitalize on the great marketing opportunities provided during a down economy and how to go about doing it best: 1. Stay in the game. By cutting your marketing activities, not only will you sell less than if you had kept your marketing steady but you'll cede your core customers to your competition. That means you'll have to spend more time, money and energy in the future to win them back. According to “How Advertising in Recession Periods Affects Sales,” by the American Business Press, when the sales of companies that cut back their advertising expenditure during the 1974-75 recessions were compared with companies that did not, results showed that companies that did not cut their budgets had increased their sales by more than 200% two years later, while sales from the companies that cut their advertising had barely increased 50%. 2. Cut through the clutter. Marketing is often the first thing to go when businesses cut back. For the smart competitor this is a godsend. The usual marketing clutter and noise are minimized, leaving you with a more captive audience. Brand awareness and brand preference created through your continued marketing efforts will pay huge dividends after the economy recovers. 3. Convince them to spend on you. In a down economy, people will still spend money, but only if you convince them that spending their money with you makes sense on an emotional and practical level. If you're not actively marketing to your core target audience, another provider will. In the absence of proactive marketing, consumers' perceptions, preferences and desires for products or services will change naturally—very often because something else is now top of mind. 4. Spend less and make a stronger impact. Even when a business is cash-strapped, there are ways to market that enable you to enjoy greater dividends. Two marketing strategies that have great return on investment are: ? Reaching your core target audience through brandcentric public relations campaigns that secure national, regional and trade media coverage. ? Updating your Web site so it uses the latest search engine optimization techniques. This will dramatically increase your chances for being found when members of your core target audience do an Internet search for your type of product or service. Smart businesspeople know that when they continue to invest or buy even more when the stock market is down, they secure a stronger future for themselves. The exact same approach is true for marketing. David Warschawski is CEO of Warschawski Inc., a brandcentric marketing communications agency. He can be reached at david.warschawski@warschawski.com.
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