Recession And The Merchants Of Doom. Do They Really Have Your Best Interests In Mind?
Mark Hale ‐ December 27, 2013
You may have noticed that the news media has been spreading fear of a recession. On every news report, talk show and newspaper every night you will hear numerous reports about how bad things are or how bad they will be. If you believe the Merchants of Doom, our country is going down the tubes. Gas prices are going up, unemployment is up, retail sales are down are all touted as major indicators of the economy and how hopeless your future is. The fact is that you and I have no control over any of these things. We do have control over our businesses, the quality of the product or service we produce, the speed we produce that product and the price we charge for it.
The effect of the negative news coverage is that everyone gets nervous about the things they have no control over and take their eye off the things they do have control over; things which really do affect their personal prosperity. Businesses get nervous about surviving, making payroll and paying the bank note. Employees get worried about keeping their jobs and staying ahead of their bills. The result is everyone and everything stops moving and production slows down. Things do get slow, not because of anything else but scared people pull back. The negativism of the news media is one of the major causes of a recession because the fear and uncertainty they instill.
Having said this, WHAT CAN YOU AND I DO ABOUT IT?
There are two things you can do: 1) go into agreement with the news media, hunker down, pull back and conserve your pennies. OR 2) Take control of your future, disagree with the merchants of doom, kick up your promotion and advertising. Let people know you are there and invite as many people as you can to do business with you. Improve the quality of the service you deliver. All are proactive things you have control over that really do affect your success.
The attitude of number one above is that of a victim. You are not reaching out and are in a defensive posture. Football games may be won with defense but in the game of business if you switch to a defensive mind set you will lose. The reason is that no matter how slow things may get, if you don’t promote, things will get a lot slower. Fact is that no matter what you sell, there are always people out there who want to buy it. If you are inviting them to do business with you on a regular basis they will call you. You may have to work a little harder to get the business, but if you don’t one thing is for sure, your competitors will work very hard to get your business out from under you.
I have been in marketing and advertising my entire professional life, some 25 years. I have been through several recessions and down turns in the economy. The hard and fast rule is that businesses who increase their promotion and advertise, always increase their market share, usually significantly. Businesses that go into survival/cutback mode shrink and die.
You control your future. The times we are in now present a great opportunity for you and me to grow. I know that the majority of my competition is doing number one above. They are cutting their marketing budgets and cutting personnel. With fewer competitors advertising, this leaves the market uncluttered so my message has a greater impact. When the competition cuts personnel, this affects their ability to deliver service to their customers quickly and efficiently, which causes customer dissatisfaction and upsets. This is doubly good for me because not only are they not inviting people to do business with them but they are making it possible for me to pick up the customers they upset with poor service.
There are some things to remember when advertising in a down turned economy. One is to hone your message. You want to make sure that your message is focused on the needs of the customer. People always buy for emotional reasons and they buy benefits and solutions for the problems they have. Let me put it to you this way, last year Lowe’s sold one million 1/4 inch drill bits. The people who bought these drill bits did not want 1/4 inch drill bits, they wanted 1/4 inch holes. Customers buy for their reason not yours and they buy benefits and solutions to their problems. Make sure your advertising is directed at solving the customers problems. The help you offer is one of the most powerful services you have in your marketing arsenal.
The second thing to do is get back to the basics of your business. Do the things you do best and are known for. Seldom is the road to financial success found at the end of a new road. It is usually the old road that is well known and worn from experience that gets you to your destination. New programs and projects can be expensive. They divert attention from the successful things you have done, take up resources and take time and money to get the bugs worked out. I am not saying you should not add new programs and services to what you sell. But, make sure if you are adding something new, that it is a natural adjunct to what you and your customers need, want and will buy before you commit yourself to it. During an economic slow down is not usually the best time to add something totally new and different.
The third thing for you to know is the law of frequency. The law of frequency simply stated is, the size of the database X the number of times the database is advertised to (or called on) = RESULTS.
One of the best methods of getting the word out that I have found is direct mail. It allows you to directly target customers and prospects. Direct mail is affordable and effective. And, most importantly, direct mail is direct response. People have your message and phone number in their hand and they call or come see you. Direct mail can be a postcard, a brochure, flyer or a letter. Which is best for you depends on what you are selling and to whom you are selling to.
One of the services we offer is marketing and design help. At Wilson Printing we can help you design a message that is targeted correctly and looks professional, print it professionally for you and mail it.
The news media will always make the news worse than it is, that is how they keep your attention and make their money. If you will turn the TV off and not read the newspaper for a week I promise you will be in a more proactive frame of mind.
Whether you fail in business or succeed in business will be because of what you do or do not do. You may have to work harder to out produce it. You can out produce it. Not out producing it is not really an option, is it?
If I can help you, please call me, my number is 727-536-4173.
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