Ainsworth Maguire has been around for more than 20 years. When we started in the mid 1980’s the economy was not that clever. Again the economy dipped in the early to mid 1990’s. One thing we have learned is that in good times, and bad times, the rules don’t change that much. Marketing activities that were, at best, marginal in boom times may be positively poisonous when the trade cycle turns down. The activities and principles that are core to success in boom times are the key to survival as the market gets harder.
Tough times present opportunities as well. If everyone else is cutting their promotional expenditure, then the players that remain will be heard more loudly and clearly. I am not advocating full steam ahead. You will still want to be prudent and it is wise to review activities and focus on those that make the maximum impact.
In communication terms this means defending the elements that contribute most directly to sales by building the customer relationship and culling the ones that may be more to do with brand building and – dare I say it – vanity. Thankfully most companies regard PR as a core activity that has proven outreach and potency. However, corporate advertising, teaser campaigns, sponsorship, some exhibitions and all the activities that Seth Godin would call ‘interruption marketing’ are expensive luxuries.
Web marketing is a crucial area that must be safeguarded. Small businesses can punch way above their weight on the web. We do. The web is a medium that you ‘own’, where you can develop a dialogue with customers, add real value to the service you give and often do so at lower cost. Link on-line activity to an active PR programme to drive traffic and you have the engine to attract the remaining active buyers and drive sales. This is a great foundation for when the graph turns upwards again.
See the Free PR Advice checklist on ‘Marketing in Tough Times’