A Rough Economy Calls for Courageous Marketing

As Henry Ford famously said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.

Many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are struggling as we continue on in the pandemic that has affected our economy at every level. 

Some have had to pivot—maybe move online more, have fewer employees, or have workers do it all from home. Seems like none of the old rules really apply anymore.

But if there is one thing you need to keep in mind (now more than ever), it is that now is NOT the time to cut your marketing budget or ignore your marketing foundation roadmap.

In fact, it might just be a perfect time to increase your resources and your outreach to customers.

Be empathetic, be bold, be the partner your customers need you to be

In an article from a recent Think with Google, guest blogger and author Jared Belsky talks about the importance of making sure your relationship with your current customers is stronger than ever during difficult economic times.

His solution is to focus on your current customers, be empathetic to their needs and be fearless in finding innovative solutions.

You’ve probably heard the rule of thumb that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. And there probably is some truth there, but what is even more important is developing a deep and valuable relationship with your customers over a long period of time. Better yet, anticipate what your clients will need before they even know it. 

During difficult times, you can’t count on your customers to reach out to you as they struggle with their own business. Now is the time to be a proactive client partner: send an email, make a phone call and find out how you can help them.

This is the time to come up with out-of-the box, creative ideas that you might not have had to think about in an easier economic environment.

And of course, again, this is the time that your own marketing efforts need to be strong and bold.

Don’t let a good crisis go to waste: Go big or go home

Remember the last big recession of 2008/2009? According to Forbes, a study followed the performance and recovery of 4,700 companies through the recession. 

Out of those companies, most of those companies didn’t reach full recovery until three years after the recession ended (and a few went bankrupt). 

But almost 10 percent of the businesses actually thrived! Why? Well, like most companies, they focused on more efficient operations. But what really set them apart was their investment in growth strategies, such as R&D and marketing.

While that may sound counter-intuitive, the reality is that these successful businesses were investing in the future and came out of the recession ahead of their counterparts.

Now is the time when you can assess your marketing foundation and find the gaps that you can eliminate in order to build on your foundation.

By reviewing and strengthening your marketing foundation, you’ll be ready to move quickly when the economy begins growing again. Once your foundation is strong, you can begin to seek out new opportunities, which isvital during a poor economy.

Your business activity may be slower — take advantage of this time. It’s the perfect time to do the things you’ve been putting off while working in the day-to-day like redesigning your website or creating lots of quality content. And if that is not in your wheelhouse, there are people out there who can help. 

It’s more important than ever to be one of the success stories

Think about this: SMBs represent about 90 percent of the world’s business population, as Oberlo points out. 

The research shows that SMBs are the major drivers of economic growth. As an entrepreneur or solopreneur, your success is more important than ever.

Also, according to Oberlo, “All in all, SMBs contribute significantly to global economic growth by providing employment, promoting sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. “

Because SMBs are the lifeblood of the American economy, not only does your continued success help you, it helps everyone.

Want to find out where your business stacks up in these difficult economic times? Check out our marketing tool, redMAP, and even take a free assessment quiz to give you an idea of how solid your marketing foundation really is. It’s quick, easy and painless and you may learn some surprising things about your marketing program.


Tomato Fish Marketing is an Indianapolis marketing company focused on helping small and midsize businesses make good strategic planning decisions.