Advertising and marketing in a slowing economy

Posted by Suzy Werry

02 Oct 2009

Although the Australian economy is still performing relatively well, the ‘R’ word is thrown around, often instilling fears that can lead to rash decisions or unsubstantiated actions. In this climate, it is understandable that the spotlight is put on cutting expenses.

In many cases, the advertising budget is amongst the first to get reduced, despite the old wisdom that when the economy slows, the advertising should be increased.

Although it might take a little creative accounting, increasing or at least maintaining your advertising budget will place your business well ahead of your competition, who will most likely have chosen to reduce theirs.

Additionally, in an economic downturn it is even more important to be effective with your marketing and advertising actions. Below are some guidelines on how to sail through even the toughest times and come out winning. Remember that the economy always goes through cycles. It may seem wintery cold but spring is just around the corner.

Tips to ensure profitability in the current economy:
  • Focus on a specific product or few products/services, rather than trying to promote every product or service you offer.
  • Choose products/services that people need, rather than merely want – e.g. a jewellery shop’s promotional focus could be on engagement and wedding rings, rather than on dress jewellery.
  • Monitor your inquiries religiously - where do they come from? What do they want? This will show you which advertising medium is working and then you can do more of what is successful.
  • Word of mouth is the cheapest and often most effective method of advertising – encourage and reward referrals with a program that is unique to your business.
  • Ensure your advertising stands out and makes an impression that inspires people to respond by having it done professionally. Attempting to cut costs by doing it yourself will cost you more in lost sales in the long run.
Last but not least, don’t dwell on the negative media. There are plenty of examples where businesses have thrived in a down turning market by making the best of the situation through smarter and more savvy business decisions.

In the words of Dr Wayne Dyer:

"Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose."
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