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Play a winning hand

By Christine Dubyts, Dubyts Communications

When the econonmy slows, your competitors may resort to slashing their marketing budgets and prices. But history shows that corporate winners will emerge, and they're the ones who increased marketing efforts despite budgetary constraints.

Get creative with your marketing budget:
When the purse strings are tightening, it's time to find creative ways to get your message out for less.
- E-marketing such as e-newsletters, search engine optimization, blogging and social networking are powerful tactics.
- Work with your designer and printer to come up with efficient print tactics.
- Scrutinize your mailing and distribution lists to ensure you are sending to your primary target audience.

Don't play poker with your brand:
Resist the urge to compete in price wars. This doesn't mean that discounts can't be offered at all, but while your competitors are busy diluting their brand with over-the-top enticements, it's better to observe from the sidelines.

Focus on your customer base: Your competitors won't be the only unstable parties during economic turmoil - customers can be fickle too.
Rule 1: don't forget about your current clients. You're currently in business because of them, and now's the time to let them know you appreciate them.
Rule 2: go after your competitors' clients - if your competitors are ignoring rule 1, now's the time to swoop in and scoop up some new clients.
Rule 3: revisit your dormant customer list and brainstorm up fresh ways to target it.

The chicken or the egg? Who cares. Just don't keep all your eggs in one basket. Think about diversifying your customer base by offering your product to new target markets. Consider increasing your product portfolio.

If you're wondering how to make any of these happen for your business you know who to call. ;-)

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