The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Small Business Marketing in a Downturn

With all the bad news on TV, everyone is looking at tightening their belts. There is nothing wrong with that, as during the good times, we can all get a little bit flabby.

So is marketing a place where you should start the cutting?

It depends.

If your marketing is working, it will be generating 10 or 20 times its cost in bringing in new business and getting repeat customers. If that is the case for your business, why would you cut it? So the first thing to look at is whether it is working. If it is not, of course you should stop it, but you should do this anyway.

If it is working, should you keep it going unchanged?

It depends.

A recession may mean that your target market is buying less, or even buying differently. While it may still pay for itself, it may be less effective. It is possible that these changes create opportunities for you. By monitoring your marketing results and talking to your customers, you can identify these opportunities.

What often happens in a recession is a buyer who usually will take a premium offer will be more interested in a mid-level offer, and those usually focused on that level, will consider more budget offerings. This does not mean you should discount. A better strategy is to create offers that appeal more to this price sensitivity whilst maintaining your margins.

Look at the downturn as an opportunity to do the housecleaning in your business that you have been putting off because you have been too busy. It is also a good time to work ON your business, to not only bulletproof it against harder times, but also because it is something you should be doing ALL the time.

If all around you are slashing and burning, measured pruning, and focused marketing will allow you to continue to grow by taking your competitor’s share in a weakening market without following them downmarket with discounting. This, of course, does not mean that you should not take advantage of the discounts offered by your suppliers who have no other strategy!

Don’t follow lemmings. If you want different results to those of your competitors, you must do different things, and be different. Do a stocktake on your business today, and plan for where you want to be in the future.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …….Yours is the earth” Rudyard Kipling

If you are unsure how to do this, please use this complimentary Mission Statement Tool.

Your action plan:

• Take some time out,
• Trim the fat,
• Eliminate marketing that isn’t working for you, and
• Use the opportunities create with the new environment.

"In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity" Albert Einstein

May Your Business Be – As You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if starting a small business is wise in this time of economy climate. Maybe taking part in a direct selling program would be more beneficial? I'm sure DS is a kind of small business but the overhead is comparatively low that starting, let's say, a grocery shop? Maybe you want to highlight this in your next post. Cheers, KATHY


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