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How to Market Your Business in a Downturn Economy – Part One

When things are great it's not that difficult to attract new customers for your business. But what happens when the economy is in a downfall? In this article I am going to cover some main objectives you can apply to keep your business alive in challenging times.

Define Your Position

When economic times are tight, companies must be smart in their marketing and promotion.

The income that was easily earned in years past now requires double the effort. Companies are now fighting fiercely to acquire customers and laboring hard to keep them.

Is the answer to difficult times more foot traffic? Do companies need to pay closer attention to social media? Should they be investing in an SEO program?

Are they ready to attract new customers with mobile marketing? While all of these channels are good places to find new avenues of customer attraction, they may be unreliable upon in tightening economic conditions if a business hasn't a clear plan how to use them.

Be forced launching new marketing strategies in those areas, companies must make sure that their marketing structure is in place.

The marketing structure will provide the right channels for all of the other marketing activity. Without the structure, the channels mentioned above may work temporarily but won't provide you with consistent and predictable profits.

In addition to this, it's important to note how the business environment was 5 to 7 years ago.

These factors would not have been mentioned in what experts defined as a typical company's marketing focus. You would not have heard about ‘mobile marketing’ as a channel. Neither would you have heard about social media in that extent. These channels would not have defined your context for marketing.

This is important to note as the marketing landscape is likely to change just as dramatically in another five to seven years.

  • What new channel will consumers use to buy goods and services?

  • How will they entertain themselves?

  • Where will they hang out?

These are all questions that none of us can answer today with certainty. In effect, the marketing channels of today may not be required for success in another 5 to 7 years.

What will remain important is the structure that makes these channels work so very well.

The foundation in that structure is that a company must first define their position in the marketplace.

While that principle is much discussed, it is typically not practiced by small and solo businesses. Companies that can answer the question of why should a buyer should come to their location will have successfully defined an important position in the marketplace.

What is your marketing position?

Do you know why customers have bought from you and not from competitors like you? If your company is an online business, why did your customers choose to make their purchase from your website and not from one of the thousands of others like it?

Answering these questions will help you to determine where you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Most importantly, it will let you know what space you're taking up in the mind of your buyers. When your buyers think of the products and services you offer, you want them to think of you.

Moreover, you want them to come to you for reasons other than “saving money”.

This will not be possible in some cases, especially if you are the lowest cost provider of your product or services in your local area.

However, that will be rare among small businesses to take that position. You must seek a specific position in the mind of your customer and allow them to buy from you on a basis other than low price.

When you have defined that reason, you will be well on your way to building the right foundation for your position which will give you an advantage in tight times.

(To be continued)

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