Don't Get Caught With Your Plans Down

June 1, 2009

Like any other self-respecting marketing firm, we've been dishing out simple tips on how an organization can continue marketing during the economic downturn. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: Some high-minded economic folks decided the recession may very well end in 2009.

True, we're not quite out of the woods yet—just ask some of the people up Detroit-way. However, whether you believe the economy will begin to improve in the third or fourth quarter of 2009 (or later, for that matter), the fact remains that things will pick up again. That begs an important question: What are you doing to get ready for better times?

Make your marketing strategy proactive

Unfortunately, many organizations still rely on reactive or arbitrary marketing approaches that have little foresight. Typical scenarios might include:

  • "Sales are down, so let's crank up a new [print/broadcast/online/insert-media-flavor-of-the-month-here] campaign."
  • "This social media thing is all the rage right now. Let's get into that."
  • "We'll bump up our marketing budget when consumers start buying again."

Good marketing isn't based on knee-jerk reactions, and consumers have an interesting way of ignoring ill-timed messages. What to do? Prepare today for economic improvement by revisiting your marketing mix and planning the steps you'll take as conditions improve—not after.

Revisit, revise, and remeasure

That last one is italicized because it's going to be the difference between you and your competitors. Getting started now is only helpful if you're tracking results and analyzing them within the greater context of economic improvement. In other words, don't just assume a causal relationship between a renewed marketing strategy and renewed revenues.

A wiser move is to question what you're doing even if it appears to be successful. If your gains are simply trending along with leading economic indicators, it's time to reconsider your approach and make changes. By the time the broader economy is officially "healed," your strategy will be tweaked and improved in ways that put you months ahead of the competition.