It’s a vicious circle.  Consumer confidence is low so people are holding on to their money.  They are staying home and not eating out.  They’re not spending as much on Christmas gifts.   They’re not buying new cars.  All because they are running scared because of the media reports they see on T.V. every evening.  So what happens?  Reports come out showing that Christmas sales are down, restaurants are closing and companies are laying people off.  Why?  Because people were afraid.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If you keep doing this, we’ll keep spiraling downward.  The news media needs to take a long hard look at themselves.  While they think that by leading the news with doom and gloom stories, people will tune in, they’re actually hurting themselves.  Here’s another vicious cycle.  The news editors choose to glorify the bad news.  Then people tune in.  They’re glued to their T.V.s.    However, the news scares people so companies suffer.  The same companies who are supporting the news outlets with their advertising dollars.  So the news media is suffering because their advertisers are suffering.  Hmmm.   Don’t you think they deserve it?

It looks like the New York Times is teetering on the brink of disaster.   The Rocky Mountain News in Denver is all but sunk.  Gannette, the media giant is forcing its 30,000 employees to take a week of unpaid vacation.  They’re hurting.  And they deserve it.  Without the news, this whole economic meltdown wouldn’t be nearly as severe as it is.

But don’t get down on yourself.  If you’re running a business you have an opportunity like none other we’ve seen in the past 20 years.  Other businesses are going under leaving you with the opportunity to capture new clients and great employees who have lost their jobs.  Look at the key things you can do to grow during this slow time.  Look at ways that you can restructure, define a new strategy, or capitalize on picking up cheap investments.  Now is the time to learn all you can about marketing in a recession.

Now’s the time to buy a new headquarters and pennies on the dollar.  Now’s the time to retool and emerge better than ever.  When the dust settles, the smart ones will be left standing.  Don’t make the wrong move or your competition will trample you in the dust.

So what’s the key to staying afloat?  How can you assure that your company doesn’t just stay alive but actually grows?  The answer may be obvious but marketing can’t hurt.  Rather than cutting your marketing budget, increase it.  Go ahead.  Try it and see if you don’t see a significant difference.  Now’s the perfect time to advertise more.  Ad rates are dropping so you can actually get a lot more bang for your marketing buck.  Look at publications.  They used to be thick– full of advertisements.  These days, a lot of the grocery store-type handouts are thinner than ever.  Take the real estate publications that list homes for sales.  They used to be half an inch think just a couple years ago.  I saw one recently and it was less than 20 pages.  Advertisers are pulling out.  Everyone is acting like a cow, following the herd.  Don’t follow the herd or you may end up in the slaughter house.  Buck the trend and increase your marketing budgets.  Just think about the possible reasons.  Not only will you find that ad rates are less than they have been in years, you’ll also be the only one who is advertising.   Imagine how much more impact your ads will have when you’re not surrounded by the clutter of your competitors’ ads.  Hopefully that helps you with your marketing in a recession.

Chadd Bryant

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