3 Things Businesses Must Do
During A Recession!
By David Sanders, C.M.C.* and
Keith Legg, C.M.C.
are three things that must always, always, always be done during a
recession. These three things are usually not done, in fact the opposite
is usually the case.
ya, ya we've heard this sales pitch before, ya, ya, ya," you
you may have heard of this before but have you actually really done
anything about it? If you want to survive in rough times listen
up. We'll tell you what to do, and we'll even tell you how to do
most of it.
you need to do is this: 1st you need to promote, 2nd you need to
promote and 3rd you need to promote.
get this, most businesses and people think and actually do the opposite
"Most of the businesses and individuals I've been introduced
to have the tendency to cut back financially by starting with their
promotion and marketing budget. They seem to think that since there
is less business to go around they should cut back and save the
money that they might possibly be 'wasting' on promotion.
U.S. business owners and senior executives do not know how to steer
their company through a recession. In fact we haven't had a recession
in the U.S. for a about a decade. Plus The Economic Cycle Research
Institute says that we're in the first 'synchronized global recession'
since 1973-1974. Therefore many executives and business owners are
in unfamiliar waters and the environment is seemingly quite dangerous.
In such a situation many tend to reach less and get less of what
they want. They blame the lack of business on 'the economy', as
if it doesn't have anything to do with their own actions or inactions.
probably have seen a lot of 'hunker down' management--executives
cutting costs across the boards. But they often cut without careful
analysis of who their most profitable customers are and what they
could do to strengthen those relationships. Many businesses lay
off employees, hoard cash, slash marketing and hope the bad days
go away quickly. If you are lucky, this is what your competitors
are doing. They are preparing for the recession but not for the
business leaders, by contrast, use recessions to capture strategic
high ground in their markets. For example, in the 1991 recession
individuals like Michael Dell of Dell Computers, as well as the
leadership at Intel Corp. made strategic marketing moves that propelled
their companies into today's dominant positions in America.
Recessions have typically lasted from six to sixteen months, however
government commerce officials wait at least 6 months before declaring
one. Last week it was just announced that the present US recession
began last March. Already nine months into it and already maybe
coming out of it, smart executives and owners are looking for how
to come out on top when we hit the updraft. This is where a business's
marketing comes in."
"Promotion is a part of the larger, complete subject of Marketing.
There are marketing principles to know and apply so that promotion
reality is that in times of recession there may not be as much money
to go around. Even if you concentrate as much as possible on your
marketing and promotion it may not seem like you have enough response.
So what do you do? You need to get smart and come up with a bright
idea that will work.
of mine once called and said 'Help! My business is dying...fast!'
and 'I have no money for marketing'.
response was, 'Do you have a photo copier?' Client's reply was 'Yes'.
I had him look at what type of flyer or ad he had done in the past
that worked. Then I had him create an ad on the spot, photocopy
it and put it on the windshields of cars at the shopping mall where
his office was located. Result? Several months later he's calling
me for advice on what to do with all the extra revenue.
Sanders: "A client of mine, a contractor, was suffering
from lack of business. He was overwhelmed and snarled up trying
to finish up two jobs that were overdue which he had to finish to
get paid. Money was tight. I made him dig out an old post card that
he had sent out successfully in the past.
looking it over carefully we found that his best response had come
from mailing it to architects across the entire metro area. So we
repeated that successful action despite all the reasons it was highly
impossible. Within days he had two jobs to bid on. Plus we concentrated
on finishing up the two jobs that were hanging fire which not only
gave him some cash, but also lifted his spirits and he was then
able to tackle getting new work with enthusiasm.
dozens of similar examples I could give but let's look at a much
more current one.
month, barely a month after the tragic terrorist attacks, I flew
to New York City, the "eye" of the current economic storm.
My purpose was to aid the recovery efforts and to find out first-hand
what was happening there business-wise.
with the Mayor's office, Federal agencies and surveyed dozens of
executives from all types of businesses. Many businesses had been
hurt already by the economic downturn before Sept.11th. Our global
recession, combined with the new war, had unnerved many people responsible
for the prosperity of businesses. I found that roughly 25% of New
York city businesses were not adversely affected by the tragedy,
50% were affected to some degree and 25% really crashed.
restaurants in Little Italy were empty as tourists seemingly stayed
away. But were they promoting? No. Companies involved with making
movies were idle and pretty apathetic. Ad agencies fired most of
their staff as many companies cut their advertising to the bone.
What a mistake! A fashion magazine had a sign on the door telling
delivery people to return all packages to the sender. All this is
the opposite of promotion!
the other hand, a real estate appraisal business was promoting and
their success was out the roof.
one entertainment company, promoting like mad, had obtained huge
contracts with Disney and Warner Brothers. They intentionally were
moving their offices into the area where the terrorist attacks had
occurred. They planned to paint a big target on the side of their
office building as an insult to Osama Bin Laden and terrorism. On
the other hand a large firm had refused to do business with a company
that was backing out of attending a New York trade show. By cutting
their promotion this company lost the loyalty of a long-time supporter.
survey, the hottest topic in Manhattan today is 'Successfully
Marketing Your Business in a Recession'."
Legg: "To Market or not to market? To cutback on
marketing expenses or not to cut back? These are the questions.
answers are simple, even common sense, yet they are seldom followed--except
of course by successful businesses and individuals. And the successful
businesses are the ones that are still here after the economy settles
out and the others are gone. Guess what the less successful businesses
should have done? Guess what would have made them the most successful?
answer is marketing. And this marketing plan contains in it, promote,
promote, promote. One has to understand that marketing is the broader
subject. It contains all of the concepts from conceiving the correct
product to take to market, packaging it, promoting it to the correct
groups of people, or 'correct publics' in a way that gets sales
in the door.
"I discovered early in my career as a business consultant that
if one does not know how to market effectively in any kind of economic
environment, he will not have a lasting, successful business. A
major reason that so many businesses fail is that they don't even
have a clue what to do if their current successful marketing actions
suddenly weaken or die on them. When the wind changes they just
fall into the hole of what they don't know. Rarely it occurs to
them that there is something that would allow them to pull up and
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