Staples | Marketing in a Slowing Economy

Marketing in a Slowing Economy

Don't stop marketing when business gets tough — however this is not the time to waste money either. The problem that many of us have is when we review our marketing and advertising budgets, we are very quick to slash and cut saying, "It's not working anyway. So why throw away good money?" That thinking has been the beginning of the demise of many a business. Let's not forget the name of the game is brand building and brand recognition to become the preferred resource or supplier. Marketing isn't a quick fix remedy. It takes time to build.

Your strategy should be to increase your marketing efforts but spend less. A slowing economy becomes the time to get back to less expensive basics. Here are four cost–saving ideas that have plenty of "bang for the buck".

Focus on your existing customers

Now is the time to make sure you're getting the most out of every customer. Consider conducting a simple survey; it may reveal acres of diamonds in your own back yard. Surveys help you analyze what every customer buys from you, and what other goods or services they might need (and buy) from you.

If customers aren't buying, ask why and then address their concerns. Please don't send out a survey form to all of your customers. Personalize the procedure with either a face–to–face or telephone interview.

This survey alone should produce some nice increases because you will start to uncover customers' needs, wants, and capabilities to purchase goods or services. The basic rule is the more you know about a customer, the easier it is to sell them.


Let's face it, most of our business comes from referrals and today there are more opportunities than ever before from organizations such as chambers of commerce, trade associations, and BNI (Business Network Incorporated). The sole purpose of BNI, for example, is to share referrals with other members. The group meets weekly for 90 minutes and the business that comes out of this meeting can be astonishing (plus they have fun too!). The key to networking is to always have an attitude of giving or helping someone out and it will all come back to you.

The key over–riding point in marketing during the threat of recession is our ability to adjust our attitudes and be flexible.

Cut back on the use of expensive graphics in direct mail pieces

Great copy is what makes a great direct mail piece work. Write a strong benefit–focused sales letter and you will be shocked at the results.

Make small all-round marketing cuts

Running a three–quarter–page ad is just as effective as a full–page ad. Running radio ads every other week as opposed to every week is still a powerful campaign. Don't stop — just cut back. Very few customers will notice the difference.

The key over–riding point in marketing during the threat of recession is our ability to adjust our attitudes and be flexible. The world isn't coming to an end — we are merely being offered a new set of marketing challenges and opportunities. Many of your competitors will choose to eliminate marketing efforts. This provides a wonderful opportunity for your marketing message to get through to your customer. It's not the time to stop — it's the time to get creative. Remember, continuing to advertise and market during this downturn will help position your company for continued success when the economy rebounds.

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