When Times Get Tough... or When to Really Advertise

The Pundits say the economy is slowly, but surely, recovering. Maybe not at the rate of the mid-90s stock boom, but recovering nonetheless.

It must be true, because ad agencies are running Help Wanted ads. So, ad budgets are getting bigger. Tsk tsk. They have been missing out. Actually, for maverick thinkers like you, that should be good news.

When the Pundits say, "Times are getting tougher," usually the first thing to get axed in business are ad and marketing budgets. This makes nearly no sense. But, to your competition, you should say, "Tighten that belt another couple of notches!"

Because that's when you go for the kill.

So-called "tough economic times" should be a boon to your marketing. It's then that your competition will pull back their advertising efforts. And you should increase yours. Your competition is purposely weakening its position. It is the perfect time to fortify yours.

Since most others are cutting back on their ad spending, media becomes more negotiable, if not altogether cheaper. Your messaging can become more visible with less clutter.

Your message also needn't be more hard-sell in this type of environment. Traditional notion dictates hard sell is the way to go. But proper strategy, creatively executed, will nearly always win over a hard sell approach. Creative ads always get noticed, and often garner free publicity.

Of course, you don't want to confuse "Bad Taste" with "Creative." If you have the proper strategy, that shouldn't be much of a concern. If you are presented ad concepts that bother you on a deeper level (more than the placement and size of your logo or other such trifles), maybe it's time to address the strategy as much as the concepts.

The big payoff really comes when bad economic times rebound into good. When people have more money to spend, your business will have a higher, better mind share than the folks who chose not to advertise. Higher mind share leads to higher market share when the public starts buying again.

There's the story of a brand of peanut butter that, due to government-mandated conversion of its factory for the effort during World War II, was not even commercially available. Yet, the brand was consistently advertised. When the war was over, guess which brand had higher market share?

And it's in this atmosphere of free spending that market share is hardest to hold onto. More dollars to throw around, more choices, the market gets diluted. Why not go into that phase the leader, or the biggest gainer?

So, when your competition rolls back their ad spending, pump yours up. You stand only to benefit from the less-competitive atmosphere. Still a little unsure? Then set up a dollar cost averaging system for marketing. Spend the same amount every week, every month, every quarter. You might be surprised you get more results in "down turned" markets.

Marketing is everything. If it weren't, your company would only subsist on word of mouth and chance.~

Republishing part of or entire article, in all forms, is welcomed, as long as author bio info is printed and proper authorship credit is given. As a courtesy, please send author a complimentary copy.

John is a freelance commercial writer based in Omaha, Nebraska. He publishes a free monthly e-zine focusing on branding, advertising, and marketing from his web site http://www.brandedbetter.com. Speaking with both agency and in- house experience, he knows the most valuable asset of a business is its brand.

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