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Smart Marketing During A Slow Market

Toni Grundstrom

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When consumer spending is soft and your business is feeling the loss it is time to beef up your marketing efforts. If you wait for an improvement in the economy, a new sales cycle, or better market conditions to start a marketing campaign, you risk losing customers and giving your competitors the advantage. When times are slow smart businesses can turn a bad economy into their advantage.

During any type of slow sales cycles you need to have a way to fight for every sale out there. Marketing is designed to do exactly that. Trimming your marketing budget now is going to give your competition the advantage. Be consistent with all your messages and direct your marketing to a specific audience. Use your marketing budget wisely to generate increased exposure, stay in touch with your customers, and generate leads.

Keep your eye on your long-term goal. A strategic marketing campaign is needed to get you through a bad economic time. There are many studies that show businesses who continue their marketing campaigns through difficult economic times are the ones that come out ahead when the economy starts to turn around. And it will turn around.

Companies that increased advertising during an economic downturn increased market share an average of 1.5 percentage points according to the Profit Impact of Market Strategy (PIMS) study conducted by the Strategic Planning Institute. Companies that cut budgets gained only 0.2 percentage points (from weaker competitors dropping out during a recession). Cutting advertising budgets hurts immediate and long-term profits and brand awareness.

Use high-return marketing techniques. While your competitors are slashing their marketing budgets, you should be redirecting your resources to results-oriented campaigns such as direct mail marketing. Use this marketing tactic to gain the attention of targeted audiences such as your existing customers, potential buyers you've had some previous contact with, and prospects.

Marketing campaigns during tough times will increase:

  • Visibility: Competitors are reducing marketing efforts so you have the ‘marketplace stage’ to yourself. Now is when your marketing will get much more attention.
  • Top-of-mind awareness: Every piece of direct mail you send helps your customers/prospects remember you.
  • Your image: If you want to be seen as an industry player, present yourself as one. You are strong enough to endure despite market conditions.
  • Customer dialogue: Keep your customers informed about how the economy is affecting your line of business. Informed customers are more loyal.
  • Marketing during slow economic times allows you to propel out of slow times when the economy recovers. Keep your lines of communication steady and strong and you'll emerge stronger and achieve more when things pick up. Now is a perfect time to create a unique selling proposition (USP), something that sets you apart from your competition. Consumers quickly cut out non-essentials. You need to determine which product or service you offer that is considered as ‘essential’ during bad economic times and use your USP in your target marketing efforts.

    The PIMS study showed a direct link between market share and the amount of marketing businesses do. Companies that are more visible than the industry norm sell more during the years following a recession. Those that advertise below the norm sell less after a recession. The PIMS study showed:

  • Aggressive marketers achieved an average 0.2 point gain in the recovery period.
  • Budget-cutters lost an average of 1.0 point in market share.
  • Overall, the aggressive marketers outperformed the average of all businesses by almost 250%.
  • Consumer spending is slowing to a crawl and you have inventory to sell. This economic situation strikes fear into business owners. Stay the course and you will come out of slow times faster and healthier than your competition. Keep in mind that direct mail marketing is a successful tactic to achieve steady, calculated, long-term growth. If you cut your marketing during a slow period it may be too difficult and too costly to rebuild your customer base later. As a smart business owner avoid the urge to pull back and you will make yourself/company more valuable and less forgettable

    Toni Grundstrom is a freelance writer with emphasis in the Marketing field. With 17 years of experience I provide valuable content in all aspects of Marketing. A cost effective and successful marketing tactic is direct mail marketing campaigns with postcards. Visit for effective marketing during slow times.

    This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as this entire article, including links and this resource box, are unchanged.


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