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The key to (successful) marketing in a recession.

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 1/22/10 11:24 AM
It seems that everyone is talking about investing more in marketing during a recession. Since early 2008, leading bloggers and organizations have been telling businesses that they should be spending more on marketing in a recession. On the surface, these seems like sound advice when you look at some of the obvious factors.

Obvious factor #1: The competition is cutting back- it's a great time to gain market share.

Obvious factor #2: Customers are shopping around, they are more willing to switch.

Obvious factor #3: With a recession, costs decrease- including advertising costs. You get more for your advertising dollar.

All pretty simple and sound advice, unfortunately not everyone sees the obvious logic and still operates out of fear. Not so much fear to spend money as they are afraid that they will not get it back. And they are not entirely wrong.

Why? Because it is not enough to spend the money and advertise more. Companies that are truly successful with their marketing in a down economy have one thing in common.

In March 2008, the Harvard Business School Online listed 8 factors that companies should keep in mind when planning their marketing. The first one? Customer research.

Likewise, with a post in February 2008 BNET talked about whether or not companies should increase their marketing during a recession. The final word? Those who are ultimately successful are those that operate from customer intelligence.

See the common thread here? The key to successful marketing during a recession is to understand the changing needs of your customers. Companies who are focused on the customer mindset understand what to say to them in a recession because they know and understand what their customers are most concerned about. It is not about spending more, it is about understanding your customer more and building a brand of value. (And by the way, value does not mean lowest price- but we will save that for our next blog post- stay tuned...)

Here is another hint- this is not just relative in a recession (it is just even more important!).

It is too late to start? No, it is never too late to improve your brand and empathize with your customer. But if you want to be in a position for growth, then start  investing now. Right now. And don't stop there. The internet offers companies new opportunities to build their brands and interact with their customers. Internet marketing takes the guesswork out marketing with analytics and new mediums like social media. Realizing return on investment is not hit or miss.

How will you build your brand in the coming age of growth? Will you ride the wave or drown in it?

Topics: branding, internet marketing strategic planning, customer segmentation, customer personas