Marketing During the Recession

As we all hear over-and-over again, that the world is in the midst of a recession, or an economic slowdown, I have been wondering if cutting back in the marketing division is really necessary. It is generally accepted that this is one of the first, if not the first, areas to see cutbacks during times of trouble. However, the marketing division is not just a cost centre. Marketing helps organizations generate revenue by making the brand / corporate name known. If everyone else is cutting back on their promotions, why should you? This is the time to let the public know that you are still there and thriving, and ready to serve them.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, one of those public rivalries that everyone knows and every MBA discusses at least once during a seminar class, are both launching new advertising during the Super Bowl this weekend. Ad space reportedly costs $US 2.7−3 million, and last year the television event attracted 97.5 million viewers. That is prime time to showcase a new campaign. The momentum will continue in this saga, for sure. Who will have the better commercial? Which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi? Can you tell the difference in a blind taste test? Now, trying naming 5 different soda brands, excluding the two obvious. Quick, I’m waiting…. See, good and constant promotion, even during tough times.

If every competitor is diminishing the marketing budget in order to save more, then those names will be forgotten. Why not keep marketing going and beat the competition now while it’s a bit easier. When everyone is prosperous, the competition is fierce, however, ‘staying the course’ during an economic slump presents you with more opportunities.

And it’s not only large brand name soft drinks that acknowledge the need to remind people of their existence. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau is continuing its promotional activities, knowing that this region of the United States could lose tourists, and tourist dollars spent, to another area. Of course, it would help if airlines and tour operators keep their marketing endeavours up, as well. And historically, companies such as Kraft, Pizza Hut and Procter & Gamble, that have maintained or increased their marketing efforts during turbulent economic times, have stayed strong throughout the period and come out winners.

Today is when everyone is spending less wherever they can, i.e., your competitors, and offering more value at a cheaper cost to gain market share, including the companies you do business with. This is the moment to take advantage of everyone else’s cutbacks and bargains to put your company ahead.

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