Marketing is often the first thing to go when tough economic times put the squeeze on cash flow, but experts say that those who maintain spending often emerge the strongest when things pick up again.
Here are our Ten Tips for avoiding the pitfalls and how to get the biggest bang for your buck in an economic downturn.
1. DON’T PANIC
There is proven evidence that suggests that it is during tight times that marketing can be used to get a jump start on the competition.
2. MAKE THE MOST OF THE CUSTOMER YOU’VE ALREADY GOT
A change in marketing strategy to focus on drawing greater value from existing customers rather than finding new ones can be a cost effective strategy. Can you offer your current customers something more?
3. LOOK FOR ADVERTISING BARGAINS
Tight times can sometimes mean cheaper advertising, if you know where to look. Some publications will offer cheaper rates at the last minute because they would prefer to sell the space at a discounted rate than have nothing.
4. TELL THE CUSTOMERS WHY THEN NEED WHAT YOU SELL
When times are tight, people can sometime be scared to spend. Sometimes they just need to know why they need your product or services.
5. TIGHTEN UP YOUR RETURN ON INVESTMENT MEASURES
Good businesses will always ensure they are getting a decent return on investment from each dollar spent on marketing. This applies double when your bottom line is under pressure. Have some checks and measures in place to know what marketing strategy works and what gets the best return for your expenditure.
6. HELP YOUR CHANNEL AND MARKETING PARTNERS SUCCEED
In tougher times, your marketing and sales channel partners are likely to be under just as much pressure as you are. Referring customer to your sales partners and vice versa can work powerfully to drive customer to your business. Referrals are the number one source of revenue for a lot of service based industries.
7. FOCUS ON “RECESSION-PROOF” CUSTOMERS AND PRODUCTS.
When things are tight, customers will tend to maintain their spending on the essentials and perhaps cut back on the luxury items. However, this isn’t always the case and not everyone has a mortgage or is concerned by the reports of an economic downturn. You need to know you customer base and focus accordingly.
8. LET YOUR CUSTOMERS SELL YOUR PRODUCT
Marketing expert’s emphasize that when customers are watching their money they will tend to place greater weight on the view of other customer that they will an any advertising message. Testimonials or anything that says “these people bought this and it works for them” should have a prominent place in your marketing messages during a downturn.
9. DON’T DESTROY YOUR BRAND TO LIFT SALES
One point marketing experts are almost unanimous on is that businesses should be very cautious in adopting aggressive discounting strategies to boost revenue in tough times. Sometimes it is very hard to come back for highly discounted pricing on products or services.
10. YOU CAN’T FATTEN THE PIG ON MARKET DAY
A solid and consistent marketing strategy can help shield a business from feeling the effect of a downturn and consistency is the key word. An upturn cannot be achieved overnight. Smart marketing in the good times is vital to lay valuable groundwork for the down times.
Author: Susan Friswell