Recession Marketing: Are You a Survivor or a Thriver?
Losing is not an option for me – it never has been. It shouldn't be for you, either. What are you going to do to ensure you make it through this economic downturn?
We can learn from history – not everyone went under during the depression. There are opportunities; you just have to be alert and aware so you can take advantage of them. David Chase wrote a brilliant article about our economic history during the depression. He cited 3 corporations that are still here today and what they did during the Great Depression…
- Procter & Gamble. To this day, P&G maintains a philosophy of not reducing advertising budgets during times of recession.
- Chevrolet. During the 1920s, Fords were outselling Chevrolets by 10 to 1.
- Camel Cigarettes. In 1920, Camel was the top-selling tobacco product.
The companies above had products across the spectrum from essential consumables to deferrable purchases to non-essential products. “Procter and Gamble represents essential consumables, Chevrolet represents deferrable purchases, and Camel represents non-essential products. As you can see, the so-called hierarchy of necessity and want was sidestepped by those who had the marketing chutzpah to ignore such distinctions,” Chase wrote.
These companies were in for the long-haul and they took marketing actions to ensure longevity. At PostcardMania, we are working 10 times harder than ever before to maintain growth in this economy. We are not spending 10 times more, but we are full-throttle ramping up the engines to thrive in this economy by looking out for opportunities, striking synergistic relationships and launching new products. Our growth depends on our customers' growth, so we had better figure out ways to help increase their marketing return on investment.
You can't just survive – that seems to have a connotation of barely making it. You have to thrive.
There are thousands of businesses that are virtually unaffected by the current economic status because they continue to promote. According to American Business Media, history has shown that companies who either steadily continued or aggressively increased their advertising efforts during times of economic uncertainty experienced an overall growth of their business at the expense of the competition. The companies who focused on advertising also experienced continued growth past the period of economic uncertainty.
This is a great time to capitalize on your competition. Advertising aggressively in an economic downturn can increase sales and market share over your competition. It can provide buyers with a sense of stability about your company and can give you an opportunity to dominate an advertising medium.
Here are some actions you can do to expand despite the doom and gloom:
- Market like crazy – pick up the customers your competitors will lose by cutting their marketing budgets;
- Look for terms where you can pay for your marketing when your income starts rolling in – this staves off the bite of having to spend money before the sales come in;
- Make better use of your own database – marketing for new customers is expensive but marketing to your existing customers has a higher return on investment. So step up your marketing to your existing customer base;
- Don't “agree” – don't buy into the fact that you can't control your business's outcome.
- Stop messing around – quit doing defeatist-type actions that keep you in the mud… like saying “it's no use anyway,” or not getting on the horn and doing everything you can possibly do to improve your business.
- Make sure your customer service is at its all time high by solidifying your core personnel – Get the eternal slackers slacking somewhere else. And make sure your entire team is on the bandwagon to beat the slump.
- Cut out waste – If you improve your tracking methods you can get more out of your marketing dollars. At my company we are already total analytics nerds, but we're even getting even more precise and digging deeper to understand more. The more precise you get, the higher the return on investment you will get because you will know what channels are getting you a higher ROI and then you can ditch, or at least lower, the others. Modernizing your marketing will help you stay afloat during any recession.
I was just asked in a media interview recently if I thought direct mail was here to stay. My answer was “of course.” One thing about direct mail – it is a measurable marketing channel and again, David Chase said it best when he pointed out that when budget cuts start hacking, the advertising media with the least ability to measure ROI will lose revenue to measurable marketing channels. In fact, Investment Bank Cowen and Company found in their research that spending on direct mail actually grew during all 6 recessions since 1950.
I am here to stay. Are you?