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Adapt and Thrive in a Recession

Large companies with strong positions usually fare the best during recessionary periods and can even expect to grow during such times. How can smaller businesses survive and actually thrive in the current economy? Take a tip from the big guys and adapt your business to meet the challenges of an economic downturn.

Bear the following in mind when preparing your marketing plans:

Know your customers. You need to know what your customers are expecting from you during tough times. Don't assume that lower prices are the only thing they are looking for; try to understand how your customers are redefining value and adjust your product or service to meet their expectations.

Adjust your product offering. In downturns, customers often look to trade down to products that offer more value with fewer extras. Evaluate your product offering, prune poorly performing products and stock up on what your customers are gravitating towards for the time being. Continually monitor customer buying habits and maintain the right mix of product and services.

Maintain your marketing. Now is not the time to cut back on advertising. Research shows that businesses that increase their marketing in a recession (while others cut back) actually improve their market share and return on investment (ROI) at a lower cost than when the going is good.

Shift your marketing mix. If you do have to cut back, try to maintain your frequency with smaller advertisements. Increase the use of direct marketing, which allows for better tracking to measure ROI and gives more immediate sales impact. Consider running smaller, more targeted programs at regular intervals to maximize your return.

Emphasize your core values. Maintain your quality rather than cutting corners to ensure that you keep your existing customers. Cement the loyalty of your customers during economic recession by reassuring them that they will continue to get the same level of service and quality they're accustomed to.

Successful businesses do not stop their marketing efforts during a recession; they look for opportunities to adapt and strengthen their positions.

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