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Recession Presents Opportunity!

February 28, 2009

Your competition cuts marketing support because business is down due to the recession. This represents an opportunity for you.

Contrarian view? Absolutely not. The best time for you to strike is while your competitors are off guard. While they cut support and meet to complain about the recession, seize this opportunity to reach out to your existing customers and find new prospects.

Far too many business owners absolutely take the wrong approach. They hunker down, cut marketing budgets and pull back in bad times. The end result is “unattended customers” and less competition for you. Businesses that cut marketing budgets also de-motivate their best salespeople, who start spending more time thinking about getting a new job than a new customer.

Economic downturns are a great time to strengthen your relationships with your existing customers as well as your competitors’ customers. Odds are they are not as busy and they may be more willing to spend more time with you – use the time wisely:

Collect testimonials: Asking for a testimonial is a contact with your customer that’s not a sales call. Tell them you would like to promote the testimonial and link it to their website, which will promote them as well. Use the opportunity to show your customers you value their opinion, your business relationship, and their business (i.e., dynamic websites, blogs, Scribd, PR news, etc.)

Survey your customers: Create an opportunity to collect feedback and discuss services and/or products you offer that they may not be fully aware of or completely understand (i.e., email marketing, custom website landing pages, etc.)

Network: Introduce your customers to people in your network that they consider prospects and ask to meet their business colleagues and associates – an excellent source of referrals (i.e., LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc.)

Use your “consulting” skills
: Help your customers and prospects save time and money by providing pertinent industry news and educational materials that will help them compete during these difficult times (i.e., email newsletters, white papers and custom publications all have high ROIs).

But don’t be fooled. There is also new competition for you – competition from new business start-ups and competitors that have invested in new technologies and lower-cost marketing tactics.

Lots of new businesses are created during economic downturns. Layoffs create a lot of entrepreneurs that may soon be targeting your customers with fresh ideas, creative solutions and competitive rates. And, they are targeting your customers using high ROI marketing tactics such as online social networks, email marketing, industry newsletters, dynamic websites (blogs) and related marketing technologies.

If you are not already taking advantage of these marketing tools, now is a good time to ask yourself, if not now, when?

Don’t forget, the marketing tools mentioned above are low-cost when compared to traditional marketing methods but there is a cost. And, implementation requires resources – consider the costs while developing your 2009 marketing budget. This year will be a difficult time for many and many companies won’t survive. Yours will if you take advantage of the marketing tools available today.

This post is adapted from an article previously published by SCORE “Ask an Expert” blog which is featured in our blog roll in the right hand column.

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