When people are on edge, sometimes they do things they normally wouldn’t do.
Same goes for businesses.
Here are a 10 things companies often do in an economic downturn, and why they are a bad idea—especially now.
- Cut the marketing budget
Marketing is one of the essential ingredients that makes companies go. In a less volatile economy, if you defer marketing you simply defer growth. But in a market where consumers and businesses are cutting back spending, you need to maintain—if not expand—your marketing.Think about it: Times are tough, so people are reducing spending. If you cut your marketing spend, think they’ll spend more?
For some companies, this is the beginning of a death spiral they can’t recover from.
Another reason to market in a poor economy: Less competition—see above.
- Cut corners in customer service
Actually, you need to pay even greater attention to your customers. They are under pressure too, and will make changes quickly if you give them the reason.For many companies, the number one source for new business is word of mouth and referral.
Poor customer service will turn that asset into a liability when your customers quit saying nice things—and start telling the world how good you used to be.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your company—treat them well now, and they’ll reward you later.
- Sell customer information
Your customer contact, demographic and transactional data has real value to other related and non-competing companies.Even if you have informed your customers you might do this, it’s a practice few consumers appreciate. You are betraying your customer’s trust, and destroying a permission asset that’s worth more than everything else in your company.
- “Break through” at all costs
You need great creative to break though the clutter. But some companies will take it too far—create advertising that’s lewder, cruder, louder or more in-your-face—and go completely off brand in the process.This doesn’t need to be defined further—you’ll know it when you see it.
- Skip the strategy
Developing quick and dirty marketing materials to pursue new business, without out any research, strategy or planning.You’ll have materials filled with marketing puffery instead of relevant messaging powered by consumer insights.
- Go cheap
Using a lowest-cost-provider for printing, design, copywriting and more. You’ll get what you pay for—if you are lucky. You’ll probably get less.Also, if your company sponsors worthy non-profits, don’t be so quick to cut your support. These groups are hit hardest when the economy tanks.
- Use “situational ethics”
By pursuing a customer that might normally be a conflict, spamming an “opt-in” list without complete certainty regarding its origins are authenticity—or worse.Sooner or later, this will come back to bite you.
- Fire the CMO, Marketing Director, or Marketing Manager
Turnover in the marketing profession is already horrendous.The average CMO is lucky to last two years.
The truth is, strategic marketing takes time and the folks in these positions often aren’t given enough time to succeed.
- Agency hop
Marketing firms and agencies that aren’t performing don’t deserve your business. But often, they get the heave-ho for the wrong reasons.It takes time to build a relationship with a marketing firm. Do all you can to make sure you are treating the relationship as a partnership and doing your part to make it work.
- Look for a silver bullet
Sorry, but there isn’t one.Advertising alone won’t do it.
Neither will PR.
Same goes for Direct Marketing, social media or online marketing.
Marketing is an ongoing process, not a single action—in a good economy or bad.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the mistakes on the list?
Have anything to add?
Comment below to weigh in.