Preserve Corporate Promotion
Here we go again! It wasn’t long ago when 9/11 came on the heels of the “dot com” bust. This double-whammy caused American business to be nervous about an uncertain future and tighten its belt. Now we are in the midst of the “Recession of 2008” with a shrinking dollar and jobs outsourced overseas. That means that many corporate budgets have been cut and line items are still vanishing.
While brand awareness and competitive differentiation are critical, when the economy slows, we marketers, publicists and communicators all know that our budgets are targets for cuts. It is up to us to make the case for holding our strategies and programs intact so we retain customers and attract new ones.
Make the case
- Consumers make purchasing decisions based on choices. The brand that they feel is most accessible and relevant when they are ready to buy is going to win their hard earned dollars. So, the less visible and accessible your brand, the more excuses you provide for the competition to win.
- Customers – business and consumer alike – want to feel understood when they are struggling, and need brands to demonstrate that they offer good value to fulfill short term needs -- or even their guilty pleasures. Possible components of value include price, product or service benefits and features, special promotions, and the experience transacting for or using the product or service.
- A bad economy is an especially good time to differentiate by service quality, as well as expertise, and other unique attributes that make your goods the preferred purchase.
- Knowledge is power. So, take the time to educate consumers about the needs, societal trends or other global and macro issues that may be relevant to your business. Public relations and other communications tools can be a cost effective means to build advocates for your product or service.
- You don’t have to go at this alone. In tough times, you can be creative to bundle your products or offer them along with complimentary services from another company to meet multiple compatible needs of the customer at once.
Shift your marketing mix
While advertising, promotion and public relations are all valuable tools, this is a time to test lower cost, high impression approaches and work harder to generate third party credibility through the media and online networking. It may be possible to trade product for promotion with radio stations or create cross-promotions with other companies whose products and services reach your same audience. Community relations may provide a channel for generating goodwill and attention for your good name, leveraging existing and new initiatives, facilities, and resources, including employees.
Hold unfilled positions for a while
Keeping head count down can please investors during a down economy. But, the work still needs to get done. So, many turn to consultants or outsourcing to compatible businesses. Our firm has a consulting team that is built to each client’s specific needs so we have the ability to scale up and down based on the scope of your goals and programs. There is no hiring and firing involved, and by ensuring involvement of the principal on all business, your company’s knowledge will be retained by our firm for a smooth transition.
Outsource to a boutique agency
While many companies, especially larger ones, rely on giant public relations and marketing agencies to develop and implement promotional strategies year-round, this is a great time to test out smaller proven boutique firms. With the right partner, you can find more attention and active involvement from senior talent, customized solutions, aggressive and creative approaches that you hadn’t considered or open new doors to awareness and connection with your target audiences.