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7 Musts for Marketing and Advertising in a Down Market

by Guy Parker

When the economy takes a hit, most companies look to cut out any extra costs in an effort to keep their head above water. Sometimes marketing and advertising budgets are among some of the first costs to be slashed. However, decreasing marketing advertising costs can actually be more costly than you’d think. During tough economic times, your marketing spend should actually increase to help strengthen your brand awareness and position.

1. Appeal to the Current Market Mindset

A down market doesn’t mean no one is buying, just that they are purchasing differently. In order to capitalize on the market at hand, you need to approach your audience with a different message. Understand that many of your visitors are likely to be more interested with product price point checking, comparisons and reviews to ensure they’re getting the most for their dollar. Rather than trying to hunker down during the lean times, try to fill the niche and help your consumer find what he or she needs. You might offer guarantees to match competitor pricing or provide transparent comparisons to help consumers make decisions.

2. Take Advantage of Your Position

Most companies will likely cut back on their advertising spending which provides you with the proverbial foot in the door. With fewer competitors taking the good ad slots, you’ll have more freedom to get the spots you want and even bargain for the right deals. You have an opportunity to reach out to other users when fewer competitor brands are doing so. This gives your company a position of strength and authority that will boost your image in the minds of customers.

3. Remember, it’s an Investment

Marketing and advertising efforts aren’t just optional expenses – they’re an investment for the future of your company. It’s important to remember this when it gets harder to include the budget for your advertising. If you stop advertising, you can lose your edge or even hurt your company with wasted time that wasn’t spent helping improve brand recognition, positioning and consistency. Just like you wouldn’t simply stop other aspects of your business, like creating products because of the initial cost, you can’t drop the marketing that will bring in important new leads for continued business down the road.

4. Practice Negotiating

Just because it’s good to continue advertising, doesn’t’ mean it’s good to keep paying top dollar for your space. Ask for premium placement and then try to get it at a discount since many others are not vying for the spot. Haggle away and don’t feel bad about trying to get a deal. The times are hard, but it doesn’t mean you want to throw it all away. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re willing to pay the same prices you were paying when the purse strings weren’t quite so tight.

5. Consider Sponsorships and Out-of-the-Box Advertising

Getting sponsorships may mean helping support your efforts while joining with other companies for a similar goal. You may have an event that others can chip in on. You might also use out-of-the-box advertising for marketing to your audience, working with a guest blogger or target audience influencer. Look for ways to advertise that can help you save a buck or two, but don’t cut your efforts completely.

6. Build a Strategy

From advertising to content production, you need a specific strategy to stay focused and have a good idea of where you stand. A great strategy will help you better assess your efforts and adjust your methods and tactics accordingly. Despite research showing the best marketers are those with a strategy, a mere 65% of marketers admit they even have one in place. Make sure your plans are clearly defined with goals that will be easily measurable.

7. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Try to make the most out of your conversion opportunities by creating smart landing pages and streamlining the visitor’s journey. Everything you create to back your advertising should be top quality. You can waste a lot of money by focusing on the frequency of your posts and not the quality. A great post will encourage confidence from your visitor and will require fewer attempts to get a qualified lead. Your objective is to cut the cost per acquisition, not cut costs completely. Your goal is to stay top of mind and improve brand awareness while your competitors go silent.

In Summary — Take Market Share

When the market goes flat, or worse, declines, make a proactive effort to maintain market participation. Media costs may not decrease, but they are certainly more negotiable. That, combined with fewer competitors in the fray, give you the opportunity to increase frequency and expand your reach for the same investment. When the market rebounds you’ll be the brand fresh in the minds of your customers and the one they trust because you stayed with them through thick and thin — you didn’t abandon them when times got tough.

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