Keep Growing While the Economy is Slowing! by Olivia Goodheart

When times are good--advertise. When times are bad--advertise!

When times are good–advertise. When times are bad–advertise!

Don’t follow the crowd. Sell when everybody else is buying. Buy when everyone else is selling. — Warren Buffett, paraphrased

We have all heard the news that the American economy is slowing. The housing market is soft; the stock market is down; personal savings are at an all time low; unemployment is creeping upward; and, the recession word is being kicked around in the business press. However, data shows that good things can happen for business organizations – even in so-called bad times. How can your company not only survive, but grow during the months ahead?

Keep doing what works

When economic downturns occur, many business leaders react by tightening their belts and cutting back on marketing and advertising budgets for short-term profitability. Research shows that this approach is more costly in the long run. Many studies, some dating as far back as 1947, point to a direct relationship between increased advertising/promotional spending in a weak economy and long-term growth in market share and profitability(1). When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise! Here’s why:

  • Position of strength. – Fewer of your competitors will be advertising so your business stands out as a successful company that can weather stormy seas.
  • Build confidence. – The more visible you are, the more your customers/clients and prospects will believe that you’ll be there to meet their needs today – and tomorrow!
  • Investment in your future. – It is far less expensive to maintain market share than to try to regain it after falling behind.

It is critical to remember that advertising, marketing, public relations and promotional costs are not merely an expense, but an investment in your organization. However, just like any other investment, you must spend wisely to reap the full benefits.

Focus on the positive

Don’t take the attitude that the fiscal health of your business/organization is just something that happens. You do have some control. Be a good steward of your resources. Make frequent contact with customers. Focus on relationship building with your strategic business partners. (That list should include staff, consultants, vendors, funders, bankers, board members and others.) Do all that you can to keep your current customers satisfied and don’t neglect new business prospecting. You can be confident when you put your trust in the eternal principles that always hold true – in good times and bad.

1. Buchen Advertising, 1947, ABP/Meldrum & Fewsmith, 1970 and 1979, McGraw-Hill Research, 1986, Cahners Publishing Co., 1982, MarketSense 1992, and “Turning adversity into advantage: Does proactive marketing during a recession pay off?” by R. Srinivasan, A. Rangaswamy, and G.L. Lilien, International Journal of Research in Marketing. © 2005 Elsevier B.V.

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