Marketing in our current downturn, it’s not your time to stumble or fall.

The seatbelt light has gone off and we have landed at the (lack thereof) golden gates of what may be the worst recession in decades. You know, I guess now that I look back, I realize I too was naive with my HIGH-HO positive spin on all conversations that, more than not, I found myself stumbling upon and even into! I was too young to remember the last two recessions of my time, and well, I guess until you’re in it, you don’t, or shall I say, can’t really understand “it”. Well it seems like I’m stumbling everywhere these days, with respect to overhearing, entertaining and (sheepishly) contributing to in depth conversations on the state of our forthcoming. So what’s next? I’m in the service industry, and I was brought up to help others when I can and when in need… so, here I am with these skills I’ve earned in my days and an army of talented cohorts, decked out in our marketing armor ready for this challenge.

So, how can I help my current clients, and how can I assist the clients I haven’t yet met that are navigating these poorly charted recession waters?

Even if you’ve made it through a downturn previously, we’ve know that no two downturns are exactly alike. So does that mean that studying marketing successes or failures of companies that made it through the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s onward is wasted time?

Not necessarily, as HBR found by doing just that, consumers and companies developed patterns that either propelled or undermined their performance in past recession periods.

We know that consumers are tightening their purse strings / wallet elastics. (I always remember my dads old worn leather wallet packed full of bills with an old rubber elastic holding it together – given that my parents have survived two recessions in my time, I’m guessing all those bills were the old two dollar bills!) We are aware that as sales start to drop, businesses typically cut costs, reduce prices, and postpone new investments. Marketing budgets are sometimes slashed across the board—but choosing cost cutting at this level is a mistake.

Although it’s wise to evaluate costs, failing to support your brand or monitor your customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over the long term. Companies that put customers’ needs under the microscope, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.
So? What are your marketing tactics and strategies for our forthcoming year? 2017? 2018?

PS – My “HIGH-HO” positive spin hasn’t been abolished, instead this inspired energy I’m blessed with will be focused on creating carefully considered ideals and strategies in an attempt to alleviate the impeding impact of what’s to come to all whom cross my path.

Trish Dhoedt

Principal, Sr. Designer, Interactive Creative Director, Communications