There are lots of valuable suggestions here for both artists and retailers.
Marketing Efforts To Recession Proof Your Business
Whether we are "officially" in a recession or not, every business out there is feeling the effects of this sluggish economy. No matter what products you sell, or services you deliver, as consumers get more concerned about the future, there can and will be some potential side effects for your business. CBCG offers our top 5 (plus 1 we couldn't leave out) tips to help you weather the stormy days. Tips that can and will help your business - and you - stay ahead of the survival curve!
1. Research and Reach Out to Your Customers- Again- And Again! Now is NOT the time to hunker down and hide when it comes to marketing for your business. Now is the time you need to know more than ever how your consumers are feeling, what they are doing, and what they see as value in your products or services. In today's economy, consumers are more willing to postpone purchases, trade down, or buy less. Your job is to research your customers; understand throughly who they are, if their needs and wants and needs have changed, and then to deliver just what they are looking for when they walk in the door.
2. Maintain Marketing Spending. Spending Enables Surviving! This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that successful brands are known to increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back. The affects of this additional spending can not only show on the balance sheet, but spending today can and will improve market share and customer loyalty for years to come. Uncertain consumers need the reassurance of brands- and businesses-during troubled times. If you have to cut marketing spending, try to maintain the frequency of advertisements at all costs. Shifting the size of the ads you run, the length of any radio or tv spots you may choose, or shift from media to direct mail, but for goodness sakes, don't stop!
3. Market to Heart- Drive Messages That Your Customers Care About. Think Family, Friends, and Fun Type Campaigns! When economic hard times loom, consumers look for signs of old and seek the creature comforts of an easier time. To capitalize on this trend, focus the marketing campaigns you run and the images you choose for your ads to reflect this time. Look for family scenes, home and hearth images to replace hard charging aggresive images.
4. Product Rules Mightier Than Ever- Especially In Money Challenged Times! It's is imperative that during challenging economic times, retailers carefully evaluate EVERY item they carry. Matching proper inventory levels, selling cylces, color trends and pricing are all critical factors in assuring retailers don't spend too much (or more than absolutely necessary) to drive the optimum sales in the store. If you haven't focused on classification planning and strategic inventory management for your business yet, now would be the perfect time to do so. Every minute you spend on inventory planning will come back to you in cost savings and better inventory turnover down the road.
Bonus: When shopping for new merchandise, spend at least 10% of your open to buy on new and exciting products for your store every season. Have your store be the destination in town where customers can find the new, unique or fun items to make them smile and take away the "pains" of the day.
5. Review, Refresh and Re-price- If Appropriate. Customers will be shopping around for the best deals. You do not necessarily have to cut list prices but where appropriate, plan exceptional events featuring key price promotions that will attract attention and drive sales. Make the events unique and for a short time period to drive customer urgency! Focus on coupons in your advertising offering dollar discounts that customers have to bring in to redeem.
5 plus 1. Stress Market Share. Many retailers are so focused on their own business challenges, they forget to consistently review their competition. Big Mistake! Good retailers understand that they are in a battle for market share and, in some cases, survival. With fewer customers spending fewer dollars at retail, every dollar is harder to get. If your local competition- or the web retailer across the world - is doing things better than you, and your customers find out about it before you do, that can and will spell big trouble for your business. How to avoid this potential pitfall? Focus on what you do well, do it to the best of your ability, but understand what your competitors do well and make it a constant focus for you to try and accquire the customers they have by doing what you do even better.