7 Tips for Marketing in a Downturn

While the politicians tiptoe around the “R-word,” you know whether your region or your industry is slipping into recession. The question isn’t “if” there’s a recession – it’s how deep and how long it will be.

The classic advice is to maintain spending on marketing during a recession, when competitors are cutting back. The idea is to win your market share and improve your return on investment by taking advantage of better deals on advertising, printing and other services.

It’s all very well for me to tell you to spend freely on marketing sales are down. But I’m not managing your weekly cash flow or covering your payroll.

From the ashes of 9-11

However, I will tell you a story about one of my clients. Back in 2000 they were a tiny company that provided training services to the investment banking industry. After September 11, the bottom fell out of their market.

Instead of hiding in their offices, the trainers went out nearly every day for coffee or lunch with clients, prospects and referral contacts. They heard horror stories about staff cuts and brainstormed how to deliver training more effectively. They met more individuals up the “food chain” of decision-makers.

Most importantly, the trainers learned what the banks would be doing “when they got budget.”

These efforts cost very little money – just a relentless focus on the customer. When Wall Street roared back to life, the trainers expanded their market share and grew the company exponentially.

Here are my top 7 recession marketing tips

  1. Research your customers. Call them, survey them, feel their pain. Then do it some more.
  2. Go back to basics in customer care. Are your phones answered promptly and helpfully? Are billing disputes resolved quickly?
  3. Play defense by providing more value to existing customers. Maybe it’s added service, temporary price promotions, or extended credit.
  4. Follow up relentlessly on old contacts from trade shows and networking events. Phone leads from your website immediately.
  5. Outsmart your competitors with creativity. Do something different to get attention (the good kind).
  6. Look for new market segments to sell your existing products and services. Or find new products to offer your existing customers.
  7. Shift budget into cheaper email and online marketing and away from traditional advertising.

For good marketing ideas tailored to your situation, call me at 203-981-5768 or email me.

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