1. Because your competitors will. The knee jerk reaction to the recession is to cut advertising. The classic example from the Great Depression is Ford and Chevrolet. Ford was outselling Chevrolet considerably at the outset of the Depression. Ford reduced advertising when the economy plunged while Chevrolet moved along with an aggressive marketing plan – and they virtually switched positions within the marketplace.
2. Because a market presence is essential. Companies that disappear from the public eye realize a negative outcome with current customers – it’s a sign to the customer that the company is weak and unstable. The absence breeds fear and distrust in their minds. Many businesses pull funding from ‘non-essential’ expenses and make the mistake that marketing is one of them. But, if you aren’t being ‘seen’ by potential customers, where is the business going to come from? How will it grow? What does it say about the state of your business?
3. Recession does not equal complete business failure or dissolution. People still spent money during the Great Depression (and through every economic recession this country has experienced). How will they know to spend money with you? As we all know from Marketing 101, people buy products because, among other reasons, they like the image and message behind a product – and marketing is your mouthpiece.
The businesses that boomed during the 1930’s did so for one reason and one reason only: the did not reduce, and many expanded, their advertising efforts. Proctor & Gamble is a great example of a company that increased ad spending throughout the Great Depression, and every recession since, and has seen consistent revenue increases as a result.
4. During an economic downturn, people are desperately looking for security, safety, savings, deals, good things, distractions. Figure out how your company, services, products and your message can communicate and deliver these things. Be part of the solution – this is an opportunity.
Look at the movie industry. The last few weeks have brought record numbers for big screen openings; people are spending money at the movies. Consider the reasons why. Connect to those reasons with your marketing message.
5. Think about another scenario when a business might not have a lot of money but needs to build the business. During the beginning or start-up phase of any business – when funds are likely low – marketing and promotion is key. No one can hire you or use your goods and services if they don’t know who or why you exist.
6. The recession will end. And the best place for you to be at that point is still in the game. Still working, having been creative, having learned – and still operating and visible. Imagine the message you’ll send to customers as we pull out of the downturn.
7. You have your own mind. Apparently, the companies that fared the best during the Great Depression are those that paid absolutely no mind to it. They charged ahead, believing in their product, understanding that their customers still needed them. Fake it till you make it? Perhaps. I prefer to think it’s a matter of attitude, optimism and fortitude.