With Wall Street experiencing losses not seen since the Great Depression, along with unemployment soaring to a 26-year high, how can your company stay profitable during a recession? The secret to success, even in soft economic times, is maintaining intelligent marketing. In fact, according to Professor Patric Barwise of the London Business School, “The most successful companies maximize long-term shareholder value by maintaining their advertising investment when the economy slows down and weaker competitors cut back.”
While many businesses unfortunately close their doors during economically dire times, your company can still flourish through smart and effective marketing. Consider employing these five recession-proof marketing strategies that will keep your bottom line black, even as your competitors fall into the red.
- Explore joint marketing efforts. Intelligently stretch your marketing budget during a recession by partnering with another business that has complimentary customers. For example, if you operate a wedding dress boutique, partner with a wedding florist to share the costs of a direct mail package. Not only do you enjoy reduced marketing and printing costs, but you also gain exposure to your partner’s customer base.
- Use upbeat, exciting language. In times where your customers are worried about their pocketbooks, you can help alleviate their mood by staying upbeat, fun, and friendly in your correspondence. According to Dr. David Freemantle, a customer service expert, “The companies I studied that tended to be successful also tended to be the most likeable.” TGI Friday’s, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin Airlines are excellent examples of “fun” companies that have built their success upon upbeat attitudes. Be fun and unique in your marketing materials and correspondence, and your customers (and their pocketbooks) will stay loyal to your business.
- Maintain aggressive advertisement budgets. McGraw-Hill Research studied 600 companies during an economic recession, and they found that companies who reduced advertising investments experienced significant declines in performance. On the other hand, the companies who maintained aggressive advertising budgets increased their sales during recessionary times, and then enjoyed sales growth of more than 256% during the first three years after an economic turnaround. While your overall budgets may be changing, it is important to keep your advertising budgets as healthy as possible during a recession.
- Be personal with your customers. Companies who develop customer loyalty are those who rise to the top. Being personal with your customers shows that you appreciate and value them, which in turn will reward you with additional sales. You can send out birthday cards, regular monthly newsletters, or even include free notepads with each purchase. Make sure that you make each correspondence personal, such as handwriting their name and a short upbeat message.
- Showcase how your product or service provides benefits. When people are evaluating each dime they spend, definitely show your customers why they should purchase your product. Indeed, there is a beneficial “purpose” behind every product, even those that may be luxury goods. For example, if you sell candles, make sure your marketing materials demonstrate exactly how your products help your customers feel rejuvenated. There’s never a better time than now to definitively remind your customers of the benefits of your product or service.
While a recession may be upon our economy’s doorstep, you can keep the downturn away from your company’s foundation. Using smart marketing strategies can keep your bottom line profitable, giving you an even greater edge against your competitors when the economy rebounds.