Keep Your Marketing Up When the Economy is Down!
It’s natural for us to look for places to save money, especially in the current economy. Unfortunately, too many businesses make the mistake of cutting their marketing budgets when their sales are slumping. This is exactly what they should not do, because effective marketing is one of the most important factors in increasing sales!
What brought this to mind most recently was a conversation I had with someone who runs a company that was doing this very thing. He told me they had tightened their budget considerably in 2010 because their sales volume had dropped off in the last couple of years. They wanted to make sure they could cover their hard costs (i.e. utilities, salaries, etc.), so “discretionary” spending was significantly reduced. Of course, marketing was considered a part of the discretionary spending. “So, how did your bottom line look at the end of 2010,” I asked. “Sales were down nearly 10% from 2009.” To be honest, his answer surprised me a bit. I thought their sales would have decreased more than that.
The truth is, a down economy is one of the best times to increase your business marketing! While your competitors are reducing their marketing and thus reducing their visibility to potential customers, you can be increasing your visibility. This is a great opportunity to start dominating your competition!
Keep in mind, though, that effectively marketing your business requires more than just investing money; it requires a well thought-out plan and professional implementation. If you try to cut corners and do it cheaply, you are likely going to be throwing your money away. Nothing makes a company look second-rate and unprofessional more than amateurish marketing materials. This almost always leaves the prospect thinking, “If this is how they promote their business, how can I trust the quality of their goods and services?” Here’s a real-life example to illustrate my point:
I came across a company’s website recently that had a promotional video on it. As most people do, I immediately clicked on it to learn more about them. When the video was finished, my impression of this company had dropped dramatically. It was obviously produced by someone (probably an employee) with a “really nice camera” and a basic editing program who convinced the business owner that he/she could make a great video for them instead of hiring a professional production company. But what they didn’t consider is that even with professional equipment, you still can’t produce a professional video unless you know how to use it in a professional way. Handheld videography without sufficient light, cheap graphics, a poorly delivered voiceover, and a music bed that’s so bad it wouldn’t even make the cut on the Muzak playlist, add up to a message that says, “We care more about money than we do about quality.” They may have saved a few dollars on the front end, but the loss in potential revenue is certainly going to be far greater.
Now, think about how you are marketing your business. Does it reflect the quality of your goods and services? Is it targeted to reach your ideal customers and prospects? Does it integrate multiple means of communication? And perhaps most importantly, does it set you far apart from your competition? If you answered no to any of these questions, you need to move your marketing plan to the top of your to do list!