As a woman business owner, I know the predicament you are facing: Pull back marketing dollars and save at a time when resources are tight or stay the course to hopefully capture more market share when the economy recovers.
I was excited to share some of my thoughts on the topic this past Friday at the 5th annual NAWBO® Day 2011 “Think Ginormous! Market Your Business” in Greater Pittsburgh. (Thank you to those local chapter leaders who invited me to be there!) That’s because even though it might seem counterintuitive at times, marketing through a recession makes good business sense.
In fact, research of past recessions in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s shows companies that spend money on marketing during a recession come out ahead as the economy rebounds. The key is to know what your customers want in this new economic frontier, how they define value and how they are responding to the recession, and then to adjust your product, pricing and marketing accordingly.
For instance, customers are more willing to postpone purchases, trade down or buy less, and must-have features of yesterday are today’s can-live-without. They want good value, reliability, durability, safety and performance. For this reason, focus on maintaining quality and servicing existing customers rather than cutting corners. Remember you can’t be all things to all people.
Economic uncertainty has also brought families and friends closer together as we realize what’s important, and this has resulted in a shift in marketing focus. Out are appeals that focus on zany humor, fear, extreme sports and rugged individualism. In are cozy hearth-and-home family scenes that make us feel connected.
Here at NAWBO®, while the economy has definitely impacted the way we think and act, we have been creative in our marketing efforts to have maximum impact at the highest value. We have identified new audiences, including women of color, younger generation and international, to expand our reach. We have taken advantage of social media platforms that are much more cost effective and can translate into increased engagement, awareness and impact. We have looked for ways to provide our chapters and members with increased value, too.
It’s exciting to think how these efforts will pay off as we, as women business owners, drive the economic change. I’d love to hear how your company is marketing through this recession. Share your comments here!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO® President and CEO