Shavonnah Roberts Schreiber | Founder & CEO – SNR Creative.
We have been hearing this for some time now: Many economists predict that we are heading into a recession. While there are mixed theories on this crystal ball forecast, I am not completely convinced a recession is looming, based on research from sources like the Baker Institute. But whether an actual downturn comes or not, I think we can all agree that we are in the midst of an economic shift that is causing businesses to rethink their go-to-market strategies.
I have learned over the years that fresh ideas and wisdom can be gained anywhere. Oftentimes the best ideas come when you least expect them and sometimes from unlikely sources. Like engaging in a task completely unrelated to work or exploring an industry that has nothing to do with yours.
To illustrate that, during a recent workout, I decided to stray from my normal course, which is either working out in silence (odd, I know) or listening to music. Instead, I broadened my horizons by listening to a real estate podcast by Gary Keller, called “Think Like a CEO.” Turns out the podcast was about lead generation, which is right up my alley, so I ramped up the workout resistance and settled into the podcast.
The thing I was most was struck by was how applicable these nuggets, directed at real estate agents, applied to all types of businesses across various industries. This got me thinking about my own experiences as CEO of SNRC and sparked the idea for this article.
Here are my five tips for what to do during a market shift:
1. It is never a bad idea to invest in marketing your business.
Or as the adage goes, “When times are good you should advertise, when times are bad you MUST advertise.”
I get it. It seems counterintuitive to invest when there is so much uncertainty, and it might seem biased because I am a marketer, but hear me out. Actually, don’t hear me out, hear out the data: In 2009 (following the 2008 economic collapse), Gartner published a study looking at how companies invested in marketing during the downturn. Turns out, the companies that invested in themselves through marketing in 2008 made a winning bet. Not only did those companies outperform their peers in 2009, but they also continued to outperform for the next decade.
I believe this can be explained by the fact that the companies that invested in marketing when most companies were slashing marketing budgets were able to pick up market share from competitors when the industry bounced back, simply because they were top of mind and because they continued to talk to clients.
2. Tough economic times offer an opportunity to hone your message and refine your USP.
We have established that it makes good business sense to continue to talk to your clients and prospective clients (i.e., market your business) regardless of the economy, but also what you are saying during tough economic times matters. In economic shifts, people are inclined to be more thoughtful about where and with whom they are spending time in all departments. During a market shift, you have the opportunity to refine your message and be sure your unique selling proposition (USP) is rock solid. Also, if the market (or the world) has changed, then your message should change to adapt.
3. Taking care of your current clients is more profitable (and easier) than acquiring new ones.
We live in a culture that is obsessed with the latest and freshest. Sometimes that can lead us down a path that focuses on chasing new deals and new clients instead of nurturing and upselling current clients. Remember, your current clients have already picked you and presumably already like you. So there is less you need to do to win them over. I suggest you double-down on nurturing your current clients and deepening those relationships. This could lead to more loyalty and more word-of-mouth business.
4. Some of the best partnerships are created during economic shifts.
Economic shifts impact some more than others, but every company feels it. This means that your vendors and sometimes your competitors are working to solve the same problems: how to stay afloat and/or grow during tough economic times. So why not try to solve it together and create a win-win situation? Often, what feels like your competition can be a great network and resource for insights and success. Embrace the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
5. Keep moving, even if you must swim upstream.
Time continues to move forward. At any given moment we are either expanding or contracting. So even when we are facing tough economic times, it is crucial to continue to innovate and pursue creative solutions to problems. Stay in the race. Don’t lean back, lean in.
No matter what happens in the coming months or years, all cities, all industries and all businesses will see highs and lows. That is inevitable and part of life. What is important is that you don’t let shifts in the economy paralyze you or your business. I recommend using this as an opportunity to better understand your company, learn more about your customers and keep moving forward. This ability to lead through the good, bad and ugly will determine your long-term success. And it never hurts to allow a marketing win to be the cherry on top!
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
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