Effective Marketing in a Down Economy

The Path to Effective Marketing in a Down Economy

You’ve grown your business consistently, and have been able to push through every situation you’ve faced.

But it doesn’t seem to be working now, in an economy everyone everyone admits they haven’t seen before.

I’ll tell you my recession-proof marketing approach, why I believe I’m uniquely qualified to be the guy you trust to help you work through this tough time and then how we can work  together.

Regardless of how weird things get, remember, people are still buying what you sell.  But one thing is certain, they are buying for different reasons. Are you talking to them differently today than you did 6-12 months ago?! Giving them different reasons to buy in a recession versus when our economy is expanding?

So, change your message, right? How? Ask your customers what’s going on in their world, what are they worried about or how you can help them out “of this mess?”  Listen, then change.

Who else is buying what you sell? Every client I work with has one or more types of customers that differ from their core customer that they spend no time or money attracting (they just sort of find my clients).  In a recession they represent a substantial market if focused on.  A residential pool remodeling contractor we work with would get the occasional call from a hotel, university or city, “Do you remodel commercial pools?” Trust me, they do now, and their commercial projects have been the difference for them the past six months.  A Fortune 500-focused training client of ours started paying attention to government agencies.  Training is the first thing that gets cut in a downturn, except if you’re a government agency. You get the idea; and I can put together a marketing campaign that targets a new type of customer in a recession, or show you how and coach you through it.

Change your value proposition.  This is something few owners really want to do.  That is, somehow change or add to your product to better meet your customers’ changing needs. For some, it’s not an option.  But, before you put yourself in that category, know that that group is far smaller than you think.

Bundle services with your product, or products with your service. Make it easier to buy. Take some of the risk away.  Find a product that’s twice as good for half the price. Boost your warranty. Sell the whole assembly, not just one part. Include installation. In short, how would you compete if you were just entering the market and didn’t have all the emotional and financial investment in how you do what you do now? I know, I know, it sounds tough. And it is. But it is powerful and I can help.

Unbundle your product or service.  The way you do what you do, how you define your product or service, isn’t the only way.  Our pool guy used to be $115 per month, chemicals included.  Now he’s $85 per month, you supply the chemicals.  After you buy the chemicals I’m not sure you’re paying anything less, but he feels less expensive.  I have a client who has conducted 2-day in-house business writing seminars, successfully, for the past decade.  The successful part is changing as training budgets get drastically cut, so we’re redefining his business writing seminar, unbundling, into something we feel his customers can afford.  Stay tuned.  We have a landscape contractor client who has always used upgraded plants (an 8′ palm, for example, when his competition uses 4′ palms) and pathways (pavers at $9/square foot when his competitors use granite at $2/square foot).  This used to win his business, now it’s costing him business.  There’s no shame in offering a lower level of quality if that’s what your customers want (If you show a customer an Acura when they’re asking for a Honda, they’ll likely go down the street and buy a Honda.)  Offer both and let the customer decide.

Why hire me?
I’m in a unique position: for more than 25 years I’ve been a small business marketing consultant; owners tend to hire me more when things go bad than when things are going great; there are always things going bad somewhere; and I’ve worked in a wide range of industries (from lawyers and high tech to tattoo equipment manufacturing and general contractors).

Now, I’m not a doom and gloom guy. My philosophy: it is what it is; accept it, get over it; and start figuring out what you have to do NOW to make things better. Think of me as the doctor you go to with a broken leg.  You’re in a world of hurt and he’s calm?! Well, he’s seen a lot of broken legs, this is probably a first for you.  And, it isn’t his leg that’s broken, now is it.

Does this mean I have all the answers? No. But I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. A big chunk of that: companies in trouble. Some I wasn’t able to fix. But I’ll put my win average up against absolutely anybody’s.

Email me and let’s start the conversation.

How I can recession-proof your marketing.

FastStart – Three weeks and $3,500. I talk to you and your customer contact people and take a look at your current marketing. I talk to a handful of your current customers.

I compare your message to what’s important to your customers, right now. I look at the possibilities of going after other types of customers. And I evaluate the viability of refining your value proposition.

Then I build a three month plan of attack; a fast start. Designed to get your marketing working again, in synch with what your customers are concerned about and/or pointed toward customers who are buying.   I lay it out in writing, five to ten pages, max. Then we talk it through by phone.

If you want us to implement what we recommend, and most clients do, we get started immediately.

I’ll coach you through it – $650 per month. We meet by phone once a month for one hour. We talk about what’s on your mind or I put you through a series of steps designed to recession-proof your marketing. I’m available in between sessions via email to help you stay on track. This is a great option for the owner who has the time and inclination for marketing, or people with the time and inclination for marketing.

I’ll teach you how
– Two hours and $500.  The first 20 minutes you do most of the talking, answering a series of questions I have.  The next 40 minutes I do most of the talking. I’ll teach you how to recession-proof your marketing–how to do what I do–how to look at all three aspects I look at, what questions to ask and how to interpret what you uncover. When you finish the process we’ll spend another hour on teh phone brainstorming a plan.  We’re also available to help you implement.