You know, one of the most silliest, stupidest piece of “wisdom” I have given over the years, was that people should be spending more marketing dollars during a recession as that was an opportunity to quickly win ground.
Well, we are all slipping and sliding down the merry slope of one of the worse recessions in recent history. Eating my words seem not as bad when compared to the disaster I would be facing if I failed to learn.
Reading Vivienne’s “Farmer or Hunter During Economic Winter” post, made me realise how silly my lofty thoughts actually were.
In winter, the bleak weather forbids us to do anything. We cannot go out with impunity, no matter how warmly we dress. Even well prepared, it is dangerous and life-threatening to step out. Farmers take winter time to rest, make repairs, enjoy quality time with family and friends. There is no point going out to sow. The ground is too hard to till. There is no point in doing anything much. All they can do is conserve their energy and resources and be ready to hit the ground running when spring comes around.
So, how do you do marketing in a recession? For sure, you cannot just stop everything. But prudence is definitely required. You cannot afford to squander your resources and your marketing strength. Yet, to hide away until winter is over is not right too. One of the best parts of winter must surely be the festivals that go on in and around the villages. The Christians celebrate Christmas, the Celtics the Yule festival, Chinese celebrate Dong Zhi and there are many more such festivals created around farming communities.
Back to what we should be doing. Knowing what we now know, we need to conserve our resources. Sticking to our famer analogy, repairs need to be made, relationships need to be rekindled, preparations need to be under way for the coming of spring.
Translated to marketing talk:
– Customer Service needs to be maintained. This means that you should not cut back so much that your customer service excellence is compromised
– Communications need to be maintained. While you may no longer wish to run full page spreads, periodic advertising is still needed. Other methods of communications like a web site, a corporate blog, or a corporate newsletter would also work.
– Plan your next campaign. Good marketing campaigns take time and effort. Most of the time, in the heat of the battle for market share and business, we rush through it all. This is a good opportunity to take time to hone your next marketing campaign.
If I were a poor farmer, I might not have that much spare cash to do a lot during winter, but all of the above can be done to some extend. Especially the online marketing stuff, they can be done for little or no cost and it would be a crime to neglect them.