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Smart Marketing : All Access Marketing For Growth

Marketing in a bad economy: Luxury or Necessity?

March 2010 By Carl Mandelbaum, president, Almond Tree Marketing

The talking heads say that the recession is over. However, the economy has yet to recover, and it may take a good bit longer than anticipated for that to happen. Often one of the first things to go in a bad economy—or at the very least have its budget slashed—is marketing and advertising.

That does not have to be, nor should it be the case. Marketing experts have proven that it is sound advice to spend more on marketing during a recession, but it's hard for a company that is intent on tightening its belt to understand that.

The key is to focus. For example, if you have a successful, strong brand already, focus on what has worked. If your brand is relatively weak, systematically focus on your strengths while addressing your weaknesses.

Let's look at some other areas on which to focus and some helpful ideas on how to weather this economic maelstrom. And remember, it is going to get better.

Know Your Customer

Now more than ever it's imperative that you know your customers. Generally speaking, consumers spend more time searching for products and services and negotiate harder at the point of sale. They are more willing to postpone purchases, buy less or trade down. Must-have features of yesterday are today's can-live-withouts, and conspicuous consumption becomes less prevalent.

Keep In Touch

It doesn't matter whether your category is B2B or B2C; your biggest asset during a bad economy is your existing customer base. Think about starting a monthly e-newsletter or a direct-mail campaign as a way of touching base regularly. Try to resist the urge to make a sales pitch in these pieces as that can come off as pushy and may turn them away.

Don't Price Promote

It's very tempting to cut prices to retain those price-sensitive customers. But once a price premium is lost, it tends to not be regained. In fact, frequent price promotions train your customers to expect lower prices and purchase only when "it's a good deal." Try promoting your value-adds instead.

Don't Cut Quality

Avoid at all costs the temptation to cut back on the quality of your products and services. A product or service that delivers exceptional performance will keep people coming back. Although a reduction in quality may go unnoticed for awhile, your competitors could exploit it later on.

 

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