When the economy is doing well, reaching new clients, carving out market share and experimenting with new technologies are some of the most exciting prospects for business owners. It can seem like an obvious decision to invest in advertising when business is booming. But what happens when the economy takes a turn for the worst? It’s at this time that smart business owners and managers must make critical decisions to continue paying off dividends long after the market corrects itself. However, what can you do with your marketing plans in the meantime?
Don’t Jump Ship
During troublesome economic times, the worst decision a business can make is to cut its marketing initiatives across the board. When it comes to customers, you are only as relevant as the face you put forward in the marketplace. If you impulsively pull your marketing and advertising efforts, you may lose the top of mind recognition you’ve worked so hard to secure during good times. For this reason, you should evaluate the allocations of your precious marketing resources and reinvest in what works.
When business is booming, many organizations fall prey to the “set and forget” mentality of marketing. When they recognize that they haven’t been properly measuring their marketing efforts, the immediate reaction is to pull marketing dollars and invest them in the bottom line. Although this may be tempting, instead, evaluate your initiatives and determine what is and isn’t working. Marketing may actually be the answer to your business woes. We often attribute our successes or failures to outside forces. Don’t assume that business is down solely because of the economy. Instead, make your mark and take control of your brand’s message.
Double Down on Analytics
With digital marketing and integrated tools becoming industry standards, it’s now easier than ever to measure and analyze your marketing initiatives. With the advancement of marketing platforms, you can track which efforts are effective and which ones should be deemphasized until times improve.
If you’re running print ads, implement tracking numbers to determine which campaigns are delivering results, not just impressions. Review clicks and conversions that originate from your email marketing efforts. Look at the number of views and clicks from social media posts, and replicate the style of posts that yield positive traction. You don’t need a large marketing budget to make online marketing work for your business.
Don’t Discount Your Brand
Maybe your monthly revenue is down. Maybe your customer tally is in a slump. Maybe you’re thinking of ways to get a fast cash infusion and, to satisfy this urge, you might be considering running a sale or discount program. Discounts and promotions should be used as a loss leader, not a move of desperation. They are a means to build a loyal customer base and invest in growing market share, not a route to quick cash. If you’re cutting your margins while the economy is down, you may be overextending. Remember, once you cheapen your brand in the eyes of customers, it’s difficult to recover that perception of value when times inevitably bounce back.
The decisions made during the hard times will follow you when economic conditions improve. Make smart decisions, think long term and protect your brand perception. Make choices that will translate well through the inevitable recovery.