Marketing In Tough Times: A Golden Opportunity

Less money coming in? Business a little slow? What should you do about your marketing? If you answered, ‘less’ you are in the majority and making a big mistake. When times are tight the knee jerk reaction does less marketing. That’s why you should do more. Stand out from your competition – zig when they zag.

I did not say to spend more money – but do more marketing. When everyone else slows down it is a golden opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. Be more creative and hence unique and more memorable. If you want to do more without spending more use these low-budget marketing techniques.

As described in the bestselling “Secrets of Power Marketing”, marketing is about defining, creating, and maintaining perceptions – so start with your attitude. That is the most powerful perception tool you have. It can work for you or against you. It’s up to you.

Be positive. This is the most important aspect of marketing in tough times. We want, need, and grave hope. We don’t need another person whining about the weather, economy, or their clients. It may be difficult. But you must sound, look, and feel positive to your clients and prospects. Otherwise, they catch the negative vibes from you and avoid you.

Being positive does not mean lying; just enhance the positive. When asked, ‘How’s business?’ answer, ‘It is an exciting time’, instead of moaning, ‘Oh business is bad, I hope you buy something today so I can pay my rent.’ Both could be true statements of the same situation and who would you rather do business with?

Think abundance – not scarcity. Isn’t it amazing when someone is unemployed they lament ‘There are no jobs?’ Nonsense! Even if the unemployment rate was a whopping 10% there are still 90% with jobs. Can you imagine if you had a closing rate of 90%? All that job seeker needs to do is reframe their approach to ‘How do I find and get one of those jobs?’ You can do the same. Instead of crying over the lost business, pose an action-propelling question like “How do I find and keep new clients?” That question gets you thinking and acting in a positive direction. There are always jobs and clients. You just have to know where and how to look.

Call all of your active customers and offer your other product lines to them. Perhaps they only bought apples from you. Let them know about the oranges, bananas, and fruit medley. Check their buying patterns and predict what they will need next from you and when. Offer them extra advice or a no-charge refresher-training program on your product. Ask how they are adapting to current challenges and how you might help them – either directly or indirectly. Ask them to refer you to other businesses that could use your product and services. After the call sends them a handwritten note to thank them for their time and business. Offer them a token gift for referrals.

Call everyone you ever did business with but have not recently. They might be pleasantly pleased to hear from you. Ask them who are they using now – and would they consider you as a supplier again? What would you need to do? Offer them a ‘return special’ for old customers. Before you hang up to ask how and when they would like you to contact them again. Get their permission and then fulfill your agreement. The next time you call you can announce, “I am calling you at this time as you suggested.”

Similarly, call every warm prospect you ever had and everyone who ever liked you. You want to remind them that you are still in business, still very good at what you do, and very positive these challenging times. They might order from you just because they like how you brighten their day.

Partner with other businesses to cross-promote. It could be as simple as trading referrals.
You could display their product or information in your store and they include your card or information in their mailing. You might offer a free product demonstration to all their new customers or a special price. You could trade products as prizes for a contest or draw.

Volunteer some of your time for your association, charity, or a fundraiser. People who volunteer for community causes tend to be positive people and working for a good cause makes them feel even better. They will also get a chance to know you and over coffee, you can discuss business in a friendly setting. If you are working for a fundraiser you will discover who has money, which is where you want to fish. If you have office space you could donate a meeting room for the use of a local charity. They will talk about you and perhaps give you recognition in their publicity.

Beware of dropping all your prices because you will have difficultly raising them when things are good again. Instead offer a ‘time-limited special event price’. Don’t tarnish your flagship products but add a lower-end product line especially for tough times. Be sure that the low-end product is distinguished enough from your existing products. The new low-end product could be a repackaging or unbundling of existing products. Announce these low-end products to your clients, prospects, and the media as your way of helping in tough times.

Stand out from the competition in good times and bad. It is so much easier to look good in slow times because everyone else is hiding. Be creative, be bold, and be positive. It is so refreshing to your clients – and more profitable for you.

©PM11 George Torok is co-author of the national bestseller, “Secrets of Power Marketing”, the first guide to personal marketing for the non-marketer. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” by registering for free marketing tips at To arrange a practical training program or insightful marketing speech with George Torok call 905-335-1997or to visit

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