Marketing in a Down Economy

Many businesses have the misconception that marketing is an unprofitable tool that is nothing but fluff. So in leaner times, business leaders are apt to slash marketing budgets.

In a recent article for the Houston Business Journal, I explored why looking for bandwidth by cutting marketing budgets isn’t a smart business decision. Here’s a summation of what I shared.

You Don’t Need a Ph.D. to Deliver Your Story

Learning to write a news release is one of the most essential (and cheapest) forms of public relations you can practice. Learning to write effective releases is just a Google search away, but targeting the message and creating a compelling story is what takes strategy—and practice. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Investigate the local, national or international media you want to target.
  • Tailor your news release to the style and voice of the outlet and offer something that will manage perceptions and motivate a call-to-action.
  • The news release should always answer these asks: “What?”, “So What?” and “Now What?”

Have an Inside Joke with Everyone

If idle hands are the devil’s playground then filled schedule is next to godliness. Fill up your breakfast, lunch and dinner plans. Reach out to new contacts and old clients early and often to understand what’s keeping them up at night and how you can mitigate their business pain. Networking and keeping a constant conversation with everyone you meet is crucial to sustainability.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

Consider researching a list of potential partners after researching and understanding what makes a partnership successful. Thoroughly assess their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and see how they align with the mission and vision of your own company. Joint venture partnerships can be extremely beneficial in down economic environments.

The image your business has is important. It conveys to prospects why they should work with you and gives them an idea of your values. Without marketing, this image can get lost—especially in today’s chaotic, noisy channels. Marketing may seem like a waste of funds, but when done right, it can be the key to your company’s long-term stability.

This article was originally featured in the print November 18 – 24 edition of the Houston Business Journal.

Philip Morabito founded Pierpont Communications in 1987 after leaving New York City and a prestigious Madison Avenue public relations firm. Hiring his first employee in 1992, Phil now oversees the state’s largest independent integrated marketing and PR firm, with offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.

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