You probably doubt that maintaining or increasing marketing spend during a downturn produces benefits.
During the Asian crisis of 1997, companies who stayed in the region were the ones that made a killing during the recovery stage.
In the past 100 years, a US slowdown has occurred on average every 10 years. Globally, there have been three great downturns (1890, 1930 and today).
If you listen to the pundits then you stand to weather the storm well if you are dealing in food, clothes, medicine, life’s pleasures, or some form of training.
This current economic phase is bringing with it several new challenges. Well-to-do companies have several things in common:
- They accept the reality of the situation.
- They look for opportunities and think about possible outcomes.
- They include their entire team in decision making.
- They come up with a new plan.
- They focus on strengthening relationships.
Does that sound like you? Perhaps you are afraid to admit that you might be a bit inactive at the moment.
How to recognise the potential and beat tough times
Have you heard of the brand Post? I don’t mean the postage outfit. Post was once the largest cereal producer ever. It is now owned by Master Foods. How about Kellogg then? Of course, we all know them. I bet you had no inkling that Kellogg was once a little known competitor of Post. During the great depression of 1930s, Kellogg invested in marketing and it wasn’t long before sales grew.
When Kellogg entered India pushing its best selling products from other markets, it suffered huge losses. However, Kellogg quickly regained ground after innovating and adapting products to the local customer tastes. Today Kellogg is a market leader. But who remembers Post?
Where will we find a solution? Several possibilities exist. It is a good idea to think basics though. Consider further training, professional development, up-skilling. These are all good ways to keep abreast of the latest thinking and remain ahead of your competition. But if you disregard your brand then you, too, could end up like Post.
How to avoid the economic trap
It is easy to feel intimidated at the moment. It takes strength of character to weather the critics and follow your dreams. There are many choices available to cancel out the prevailing business sentiment.
For example, looking for a new market overseas to sell into. Every day, lots of Australian companies realise that to grow their business bottom line they need to look further afield now and build connections in new markets off-shore. Making use of this time when activity is generally lower to make connections in new foreign markets should prepare you for when buyer spending ramps up again.
You will be well placed to win new business if you have been in contact throughout this difficult period.
At the dawn of a new era in economic activity, the companies that prosper are those that have stuck together. They have established a working relationship. They have build trust and confidence over time. And they know that relationships are all-important.
Steve Dowling is the founder of ClientLink® – Global Market Access professionals providing guidance and training in assisting business connect to new foreign markets.
Photo: Akash K