Wednesday, 25 February 2009

7 Myths About Marketing in Economic Downturns

When I read David Poulos’ article, the 7 Myths About Marketing in Economic Downturns, I was reminded once again that the time when the economy slumps is exactly the time when you shouldn’t stop marketing.

Most marketers instinctively know this….you need to keep your brand in front of the buyer, that’s how people learn about your product! And if your competitors are turning down their marketing efforts, well you’re in an even better position to dominate mindshare.

The challenge is how do you weather the economic storm and keep marketing moving on a downsized budget? Since the majority of us work for companies that aren’t global, worldwide brands already cemented as a fixture in the minds of consumer and/or business buyers, we NEED to keep marketing.

Myth #1 in Poulos’ article sums it up:

“Few brands are strong enough to survive without advertising, product promotion, and customer service support. Brands are like delicate houseplants—they need attention, support, bolstering, and polishing, (the marketing equivalent of nutrients, light and water)—or they will wither and shrivel to a shadow of their former self. This is not a position you want your corporate brand to be in when the growth engine for the economy revs back up.”

Poulos goes on to say, “Those that reduce their presence in their key service markets are in a far worse position in terms of profitability, market share, and market competitive presence when the downturn eases and profitability growth returns than those that maintain their marketing activity levels.” This article by Craig Pearce outlines a number of other reasons for treating an economic downturn as an opportunity…but these two observations in particular stood out to me:

- Creativity will give you more of an edge than in ‘normal’ times.

- Being positive helps keep and make new friends. Proactive marketing is an example of being positive in a tough environment.

I like this way of thinking – creativity being key and the idea that proactive marketing sends a positive message. It takes some smart thinking to do more with less, but it can be done. You just have to be creative. Stay focused. And stay positive.

As an example, the company I work for, FaceTime Communications, recently launched a video on YouTube to help further awareness of our web security solutions and promote our ‘No URL Filtering Fees’ program. My colleague and I star as roving reporters in the field observing a nearly extinct species…the URL filtering sales guy. Take a look at the Larissa and Sarah Show.

Creative? We hope so. We spread the word through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and so far it’s been viewed more than 10 times that of our competitor’s presentation-style video - and it’s getting positive comments. People are responding favorably to the humor and personal aspect. Exactly the reaction we were hoping for.

As for ROI, considering it was a low-cost undertaking and the capital expenditure was mostly just time on our part...well, we’re staying positive on that too.

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