Does it pay to advertise during hard times? Yes!
Economists across the country say that we are headed into a "recession". Times will be tough for all businesses, large or small, and we will all struggle. We will be faced with tight budgets and tough decisions. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last.
Many businesses will decide to cut their advertising, marketing and promotional budgets to reduce their spending and preserve their cash flow. They will wait out the upcoming months, and year, to see what the economy will do. Will it fix itself? Will the bailouts work? When will it happen? When will it be over?
So, should you keep waiting or take action for your own business? Here's the answer... "Take action."
Smart businesses that maintain or increase their advertising and marketing spending, average significantly higher sales growth during a recession, and for three years following, than those businesses that reduced or cut their spending, according to McGraw-Hill Research.
The reality is: people need to eat; will need gas for their cars, children will need supplies for school; homes still need household supplies; business still need equipment and services. Non-profit organizations work harder to compete for funds. Those who decide to sit back and wait it out, lose out on tremendous growth opportunities.
Companies that advertise show the consumer and other businesses that they are stable enough to withstand the storm, and continue to aggressively draw clients to "their" business, while others lose their market share.
Now is the time to take a stand and position yourself in the current economy. Remember what it took to start your business, make a name in your community and create brand recognition? By withdrawing yourself from the public you may temporarily keep a few dollars in the bank. However, trying to reinvent your company all over again, following a recession, will cost you far more than you might expect.
This is a crucial time for your business and there has never been a better time to invest in "effective" advertising, marketing and creative design.
So, what can you do?
Focus on your core values: Reinforce your brand and remind customers why you are different and better.
Market to your target audience: Define and communicate to your optimal clients. Target and market your product or service specifically to them
Stay consistent with the use of effective advertising: The long-term benefits will be worth it. If your brand is stale, refresh it. If it's all over the board, fix it. Over time the rewards will pay off.
Keep or increase your advertising budget: Continue to promote your products and services, keep your customers happy and, in the end, you'll be more stable.
March 2009 - Voice of Business - Peterborough Chamber of Commerce