Marketing in a Down Economy: Engage Your Audience

So for all you people out there whose sole responsibility is to market the products and services of your company, I pose this question:  What is the first thing people at the top want to do when money is tight?

If you answered “cut marketing budgets” you would generally be correct.  One of the first corporate knee jerk reactions is to cut advertising and marketing dollars (and jobs) when the economy is down.  Naturally, I am making broad statements but hopefully you understand where I am going with this.  In reality, a recession is one of the best and most crucial times to market.  A company can not only gain valuable market share but use the opportunity to stay in touch with their customers.  Without effective marketing and constantly analyzing the analytics and results, how can a company know when to make adjustments.

Internet marketing is now one of the most effective ways to continually engage an audience and make them aware of your brand.  People now use the search engines more than ever to research products and services before they purchase them.  This is true for online and offline shopping.  People not only do research using the search engines but engage their online social communities for feedback from their peers.

One of the most basic aspects to marketing is to position your products to be visible where your target audience is looking.  Well, this is just as true for online marketing.  Its not just about search engine optimization and pay per click advertising anymore.  There are a vast amount of resources that can drive amazingly targeted traffic.  Proper usage of PPC, Facebook.com advertising, video optimization (YouTube.com), social media sites like Twitter, and organic SEO all can result in dramatic increases in traffic and hopefully sales.

So what does all this have to do with marketing in a down economy?

During poor economic times it is crucial to stay in touch with your audience and engage them.  Keep them aware of what your company is offering them, the incentives you bring to the table, the value you have over the competition, and what you are going to do to keep them interested in your product.  Keep in mind though that this is not the time for “smoke and mirrors”.  People want transparency.  They want to know the truth about what you are offering.  We live in a Web 2.0 world where the real information is a few clicks away, consumer ratings are available, and there are an abundance of sites that will shed the light.  So you might as well be truthful in your pitch.

Another tip is to consider offering more discounts and creating landing pages accordingly.  Many of the Internet marketing tactics necessary today will not be relevant when the economy turns, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it, right?  Now is the time to change the way you do business and the way you market to your consumers.

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