How to Take the Lead in this Economy
Recession, slump, downturn, whatever you want to call it, with few exceptions, in the past few months our businesses have been experiencing a major slowdown in...well...business. Several of our Avenue25 friends and clients from both the Phoenix area and abroad have come to me recently in a panic that business is down and that they "obviously" need to cut back on their advertising and marketing. Of course this is exactly the wrong thing to do.
Cutting back on advertising and marketing during tough times is akin to turning off the faucet when you're thirsty. But for some reason these normally rational business owners and managers are under the impression that advertising and marketing should be the first thing they cut when business gets tough. Perhaps they go there because advertising is the easiest thing to cut for a "quick fix". After all, less going out means a better looking bottom line right? The answer is YES...for one month. Of course, with less advertising and marketing, less business comes in the door next month. So what do they do then? Surprisingly most of these businesses will again cut advertising and marketing. The bottom line looks salvaged yet again for another month. But in the third or fouth month, with little or no advertising and marketing it turns into a struggle for survival. These are the same people who buy high and sell low in the stock market.
So what should you do?
The short answer is you become more aggressive and advertise MORE. Add an element to your web site to capture leads, strengthen your SEO (search engine optimization) of your web site, design a stonger logo, develop a strategic, multimedia website, internet, print, radio and/or television campaign. Add sales videos, instructional video or testimonial videos to your website to create interest and increase sales. Start a weekly or monthly e-newsletter and email campaign using leads captured from your website, etc., etc., etc.
The long answer begins with stop panicking so you can think rationally. Now understand that business is a game of strategy and do what we always do here: look at the position from all sides and find the opportunity in the situation. Let's step through this together:
1.) Business is slow because fewer consumers are spending money as freely as in the past. This means there are fewer "fish in the pond" willing to bite on your particular product or service.
2.) Just like you, your competitors are beginning to panic and become short-sighted. So of course they'll cut their advertising and marketing budgets. They're in the downward spiral and have in essence "pulled their lines out of the water." And if they continue along this path, they will soon be out of business and no longer a competitor of yours.
3.) You can help them along this downward spiral and better your position if you continue or increase your advertising efforts. You are in essence putting more "lines in the water" and will catch your share of fish and theirs too. Granted it may not be as many fish as you used to catch but at least it will keep you alive while strengthening your position until the market turns around.
4.) Finally, when the market does turn around and everything goes according to plan, you'll be one of the few fishermen left standing and a pond full of fish in front of you. That's where the big payoff is.
This is a time of opportunity. "Act now while the market's low!"