Keep On Marketin'
Updated: Feb 8
Originally published April 2009. 'Keep on truckin' image by Robert Crumb.
Why not be vision led instead of fear driven? Business books are full of stories of companies who actively promoted themselves during tough economic times, and leaped ahead of their competitors by wide margins.
Savvy marketers know that an economic downturn is an opportunity to gain market share. Though spending may seem counterintuitive during these times, the tactic has paid off for many.
C.W. Post had over a decade head start over the Kellogg brothers and led the breakfast cereal market into the 1920’s. But during the Great Depression of the 1930’s Kellogg‘s kept advertising while Post cut back. When the Depression ended, Kellogg’s emerged the dominant player, a position they have maintained to this day.
Branding your company as an industry leader and a survivor during a recession boosts your customers’ confidence and comfort buying from you. They want to know you’ll be there when the storm has passed.
Before the Depression, Ford Motor Company had been the leading car maker in the U.S. for over 70 years. But their competitor, GM, kept a high public profile advertising during those years and soon left Ford in the dust, outselling them 10-to-1.
Weak competitors run for cover during recessionary times, giving bold, strong competitors opportunities to solidify, even expand, their piece of the pie. Call it Darwinian Economics.
While your competitors are cutting advertising budgets, there is less clutter in the marketplace, so your message stands out in your customers’ eyes. Plus media companies are more willing to negotiate advertising rates, so you may get more bang for less buck. Your marketing message lets consumers know that you’re stable and strong. When the economic tide turns, you are in position for a surge.
Some iconic American companies boldly launched during recessionary times, including IBM, Microsoft, McDonalds and General Electric.
For small local businesses, the principles are the same. An economic downturn can be an opportunity to envision, and plant seeds for, success.