Marketing during an economic recession or downturn is a necessity that many businesses may squander.
By nature, the first reaction people have to any major fiscal threat is to hoard and cut many so called “non-essential” services (marketing for instance) that cost them additional money. While it is true that certain budget cuts might have to be made in dire times, many businesses end up making the wrong type of cuts — including eliminating their marketing department. Instead of helping their cause, this actually sets their business up for failure; dooming their business’ chance at an opportunity that seldom presents itself: to be heard above their competitors. Merely reacting to a negative situation is not a sound business strategy; instead you should carefully consider the future and where you’d like to be, especially when the present crisis has ended.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time” -Henry Ford
Since ancient times, the market square, where people gathered, was the only place for entrepreneurs to sell their goods and services. If you wanted to be noticed above all the thousand other people in the market square, you had to do something different to stand out. After all there were probably dozens of businesses just like yours and they all sold the same thing. Having bright colors hanging near your stall, or a sign above your booth would be a good start. But if you wanted even more exposure, you would need to reach directly into your customers heads: through their ears. You would need to get out there and proclaim your wares or services in a loud voice. And if you were too busy to do it yourself you would hire someone to be that “Loud Voice Guy” for you. That “Loud Voice Guy” would be the birth of your marketing company.
Think about it this way: if less people were buying because of an economic crisis, you wouldn’t want to stop your “Loud Voice Guy” from working, or even worse, fire him. Instead, to get one step above your competitors, you would want to hire another “Loud Voice Guy” or two for that matter, expanding your reach to let more people know about your amazing product. That way even though there may be less people buying, you are the one getting more exposure and all the while the same amount or possibly even more customers. Yes, it’s true you’d be paying for additional marketing, but if your business is to survive you would need it. And if you fired all your “Loud Voice Guys” you might have more money in the short run, but you would lose all those potential sales you could have gotten as well as the new customers you might have attained in the future.
To put it simply, marketing is about getting your name out to the people who want what you are selling. There are people out there just waiting to spend their money but have no idea who you are or where you are located. Your marketing company is your “Loud Voice Guy.” You need them to keep your customers coming. If you cut your marketing as you make cuts to every other part of your business, then you might as well say, “Goodbye it was nice knowing you,” to your customers. Because two things will happen: your present customers will forget about you, and (should the recession end) you will no longer have a voice that can be heard above your competitors. The latter means you are delegated to the back of the race for customers with all your competitors, (especially those who had a marketing team when you didn’t) erasing years of hard work.
Marketing is about psychology. The marketer (“Loud Voice Guy”) knows that people require different ways to be inspired to buy a product or service. He will do his research and find out what people are thinking. He will then take this research and bring it back to his particular business and present it, after which finding the best way to proceed. Marketing takes time, just like anything you are building. Arbitrarily cutting your marketing because of a gut reaction of fear due to economic setback is like burning your building down because of a rat infestation.
Did you know that most of the businesses that survived the Great Depression acted as if there wasn’t a Great Depression at all?
This attitude reflected an idea that a business would create demand even if demand wasn’t there. In other words, business owners did not play victim to whatever was happening around them. Innovation is key to survival in any situation that occurs, whether positive or negative. Your marketing company serves as a pioneer for your business and is your best hope for weathering tough times, along with your positive mindset. You need your marketing company — keep this part of your team. In fact, turn them loose and let them innovate and grow your business, especially now.