Marketing in Recession

This is a topic I was mulling about recently and here are some interesting thoughts:

Reality Check

However, how does marketing get affected in recession? At the surface level, there are budgetary constraints imposed and as managers strive to cut costs you can clearly do a reality check if the function you were doing was important to the organization or a nice-to-have. Having said that, what are the takeaways, what are the golden opportunities that this generates for a marketeer?

Measure your “Customer-Effectiveness”

It is the right time to listen to the customers and figure out what they pay for, why and what you can do to improve your products and given your current products whether you are targeting the right customers. Create a strategy around this and prepare for implementation as the market conditions improve. This also could be the right time to test your web2.0 marketing channel-effectiveness, if already established and establish one, if your target customers are reachable through the medium.

Time Utilization

The company can utilize the spare time available with employees because of reduced projects and decreased new product efforts and channel it into creating new ideas for improving the products, service, branding, internal processes etc. The VLSI division of Wipro in India did this very well in the 2001 downturn. Instead of doing a round of layoffs, they used the manpower to create an internal knowledge database of projects, information, benchmarks, rules and guidelines on the intranet portal that was a wealth of information to new joinees and future projects alike once the economy bounced back.

Review Partnerships

It might now be the right time to approach those partners that were out of your league but would significantly help you save costs or improve quality. For one, they might entertain you as they might need the business and secondly, you could get a good partnership deal inked in the bargain.

Focus on Products and Costs

As a tight squeeze happens on the media and branding budget and consumer exuberance fades, it is time to focus on products and costs. Focus on areas to cut costs on the entire range of products and not just where you face price pressure.

All this requires man-effort but not extensive budgets and creating a marketing strategy, evaluating channel-effectiveness, understanding product requirements and reducing costs are invaluable insights that a company can gain during recession minus any “consumer exuberance factors” that the company does not control.


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