A little over a year ago and probably before, articles started popping up all over the place about, “Selling in Tough Times,” , “How To Market in a Down Economy,” and the like. Now that we have seen a few, more positive headlines starting to sprinkle throughout, “Turning the Economical Corner,”, “After the Recession,”, what now?
For the sake of prognostication, let me review. No I am not driving the car by only looking in the rear view mirror.
When times got tough, managers all over the place looked for places to cut costs. Marketers looked for newer places to sell and to sell more. Some business managers cut marketing and sales expenses. Let me state here, once and very clearly, that is the WRONG thing to do.
Jay Conrad Levinson of guerrilla marketing fame says that “recessionary marketing” is a real opportunity. Bear with me on this review as we approach some new thoughts on “recovery marketing.” During tough times, customers are looking for real value. Effective marketing points out that real value to customers with the ensuing result of increased sales and increased share of market.
What Jay Levinson state for “recessionary marketing” applies to “turning the-corner-and-coming-back” marketing, or “recovery marketing” as well; maybe even more. During recovery, lots of positioning is occurring, while at the same time skeptics are still about. During recovery some people choose as their favorite form of transportation to be hopping on to a bandwagon. Once the bandwagon fills up, companies look around at each other and start to feel that it is almost too late to start up aggressive marketing once again. The same old adage applies to marketing much like it does to work… “It’s easier to keep it up than catch it up.”
Borrowing from “recessionary marketing” and applying the same mind set, thought processes and applications to recovery marketing, will further separate the marginal companies from the successful ones.
Recovery marketing boils down to investing in the three things that should have been invested in when times got tough.
- Increase the size of orders
- Increase the frequency of orders
- The third item, but more costly is to increase the number of customers you sell to.
Enhanced marketing programs and increased investment in marketing accomplishes the above items. Free samples, seminars, consulting, and speeches, are incentives for the customer to buy more and to do it more often. Now is the time to put that marketing line item expense back into the budget. Prioritize 3 recovery marketing initiatives now, don’t deviate and certainly don’t cut the expense or investment that is made. We’ll leave the concepts of consistency, persistency and long term thinking to other marketing articles.
Here are a few recovery tactics that will help your positioning as customers and prospects decide where to spend their growing dollars earned from a recovering economy.
If you don’t already have a PR program in place, start one now. There are a multitude of reasons to write a press release. Focus on one editor and get something published. This is free marketing and an effective technique that shows up in all the “marketing in tough times” articles. Learn more on how to use press releases and public relations.
Current Customer Attention
The best prospect is a current customer. This is true whether we are marketing in a recession or in a recovery or in a boom. Pay them the proper amount of attention. Prioritize them and see how far into their account you can gain share. Nurture loyalty into your customers. Share of customer is always a priority and will help focus marketing efforts in a recovery.
Referral programs and word of mouth marketing are still low cost associated with a high success rates. There are ways to enhance this but you have to put yourself in front of the potential buyer in some fashion or another or have someone else do it for you. Learn more about networking.
Repackage Your Products
Repackage your products and services as bundles or higher ticket items. This certainly attains that goal of selling more per order. Customers that have stuck with you through thick and thin will probably spend more also in times of recovery. Learn more about cross selling and upselling.
Use Marketing Methods You’ve Put Off Before
Spend some money invest in that direct mail program that you’ve been putting off. Send that new brochure to customers and prospects. Get online and create your social media profiles. Sometimes positive talk about “preparing for the recovery” is very contagious. You’d be surprised what kind of mindset you can create in your own market.
These are a few things to get you back on track if you cut that marketing expense (and want to beat the bandwagon hoppers) and want to ride the recovery wave. I can’t wait to write the next article in this series about “Marketing In Boom Times!”
Recommended Books on How to Market Your Small Business After the Recession:
- Recession Marketing
- 101 PR & Marketing Tips To Grow Your Business In A Recession
- Beat The Recession Marketing: A Small Business Marketing Plan For Growing Your Business During The Recession.
- Winning New Customers In Recession & Recovery: (Bizbones Series)
- Survive, Exploit, Disrupt: Action Guidelines for Marketing in a Recession
About the Author:
- 15 Home Business Ideas that Thrive During Tough Times
- Recession Strategies for Small and Home Businesses
- How Great Managers Capture Profit Pools
- Don’t Get Caught Off Guard: How to Create a Business Disaster Recovery Plan
- How Your Business Can Survive Tough Times