Don’t cut marketing when things get slow

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It’s fiscally tempting to scale back the marketing budget of your business in lean times, even though doing so may only cause more pain.

When the economy is tanking and business slows, companies often hastily react by “hunkering down” and shelving new marketing efforts to save money, says Keven Malkewitz, professor of marketing at Oregon State University. But that only exasperates business woes.

“If you go dark it takes a lot more energy to get in a consumer’s mind when the economy improves,” says Scott Nowack, president of Portland-based advertising firm Livengood Nowack.

Successful companies view a tough economic climate as an opportunity to outsmart, and overtake, their competitors with more cost-effective and experimental marketing strategies. Chances are your competitor is feeling the pinch, too, says Malkewitz.

Malkewitz, who conducted a seminar in Portland in April on marketing in a down economy, recommends that a business start by reappraising customers and their return of business relative to the amount of resources devoted to market toward them. “It’s a good time to fire customers,” he says.

It also helps to re-evaluate the viability of your product or service. In other words, a little empathy for the customer goes a long way. “In a down economy customers may need different things,” Malkewitz says. “The company that responds best to that usually wins.”

For Nowack, business is brisk and his clients are asking for more exposure, so he’s helping them sharpen their customer target and move to the Internet. One method is locating online communities and creating ads solely aimed toward them. He also is experimenting with “positive message” ads to contrast with negative political ads and news.

But new doesn’t necessarily mean better, according to Malkewitz. As much as businesses like to salivate over a quick fix or a new marketing tool or strategy, it’s really only a pipe dream that wastes precious time.

In the effort to survive, all the best marketing techniques still rely on building customer relationships and a quality product or service, he says.

Sure, temporary promotions such as lowering rates when customers have less money helps generate a bit more business, Malkewitz say, but in the long run, “the lowest price doesn’t always win.”

JASON SHUFFLER


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

More Articles

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Grain Food

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Read more...

Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Wildcards

Guest Blog
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
072815fergusonthumbBY JASON NORRIS

Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Downtime with Jill Nelson

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play wit the CEO of Ruby Receptionists.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS