Marketing Messages & Methods in a Downturn

There are always positives in every situation and a downturn is no exception. How can a downturn be good news for a business? If you do business with other businesses there is an opportunity that isn’t available in busier times.  It’s time to adjust your marketing strategy to the situation.

Business owners who are not super busy are more open to hearing from you and to evaluate your products and services. Let’s face it, when you are racing out the door this is not the ideal time to hear from a sales person. If you do business with consumers there are still opportunities. When people are spending less or more aware of the money they are spending, they take more time to evaluate their purchases. When money counts so does your marketing message. Consumers are taking the time to read information to help them make a value for money decision.

Some Tips:

  • Be aware of customer price points during this time
    It’s not always rational but with all the talk about belt tightening, job losses etc. money is on people’s minds. Even though your customers may not have had anything change in their circumstances, they may still feel pressure to spend less. When $100 was no problem before, that amount may now be $70. Observe what the critical price point for your customers is at this time
  • Customise your product or services to meet the new price point
    If your customers are sensitive if prices are over a certain point, don’t despair look at ways you can provide services or products to meet this. You don’t need to discount or take a hit to profitability to meet customer needs. For example, create smaller packages rather than 7 in a pack have 5 in a pack. Offer 10 minute neck massages rather than one hour or thirty minute massages. Provide discounts on larger quantities if price per unit is important. Trim back the service component to offer some DIY elements if that saves you the cost e.g. offer a pick up rather than delivery option or snail mail rather than express post. If you are unable to change your product and service (and therefore the price) consider generous payment terms e.g. lay by, credit card option or monthly payments.
  • Remember to communicate with customers they way they want you to.
    Email is a cheap way of communicating with customers but beware of always choosing the cheapest way of communicating. A phone call for businesses and a letter for consumers can be slightly more expensive but much more effective.
  • Present an argument for value for money
    In these times customers are interested in value for money. Going with the cheapest is not always the way people buy. Money is precious and they want to get good bang for their dollar. It is important to promote the ways your product or service provides value for money. In particular it is helpful to mount a financial case for the sale, e.g. lasts longer, saves your time, saves petrol, protects your furniture reducing the need to replace, makes your shoes look like new again – no need to buy a new pair
  • Be positive don’t give into pessimism
    It’s very tempting to tap into people’s fear at this time to try and get a sale. But often this doesn’t work. In order for someone to buy from your business they need to take action. Fear can immobilise people causing them to do nothing! Even worse, if you take a negative approach it can have a negative response in customers and they can then in turn have a negative association with your business! Bad news might sell newspapers but people what solutions with their products and services!

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