Marketing In Tough Times

Undoubtedly, these are tough economic times. As the marketing specialist at your company, you will need to find better ways to locate and influence those remaining active buyers and create more leads and sales, often with a reduced spending budget.

Keep programs which have the most affect on lead generation and short-term sales, cutting those projects which don’t perform as well or that are untested. Company image is critical, but now is not the time to try to reach a huge audience with an unspecific message. Focus on your targeted best prospects, better describing the benefits of your product or service. By asking your sales staff which methods have been most effective in generating sales and studying their responses, you’ll be able to make smarter budgeting allocations.

Direct Mail

Instead of broad mail-outs to purchased lists, increase the use of fax, email, and direct mail-outs to distribute targeted offerings to your known prospects. If your company doesn’t already have its own email list, you may consider putting advertisements in other targeted email newsletters as a quick way to reach your market and generate immediate response.

Public Relations

Writing articles for industry publications is a great way to benefit from inexpensive public relations opportunities. These articles could contain customer testimonials, success stories, and an article byline which highlights your expertise. The newsletter is another great method of staying at the forefront of your prospects’ minds. By asking subscribers to fill out a short survey with qualifying questions, you can enter the circulation information into the database and follow up with the appropriate prospects. Additionally, both the articles and the newsletter are easily repurposed for the website Another excellent tactic is promoting your company’s management as speakers at key conferences. By offering to send white papers of copies of the presentations to attendees in exchange for their business cards, these events could be helpful in generating leads.

Industry Publications & Trade Shows

An occasional presence in a large number of industry publications will likely be less effective than a greater presence in fewer publications. Take a careful look through the BPA statements, studying them to uncover the true percentage of readers who are part of your target market. In bad economic times, advertising sales often take a hit. This may be a good opportunity for your to negotiate reduced rates with publishers.

Trade shows are usually expensive, and eliminating some of the less valuable ones can help eliminate costs. For those shows where your exhibition has proved valuable in the past, think about getting a smaller booth. You can increase attendance by sending mail-outs in advance, and you may be able to find resellers and distributors willing to assist with staffing it.

Company Web Site

Increase the amount of links to your site by working with other organizations. By uploading case studies and article content to your site, you will have more pages to register with search engines. Proper keyword choices will help your site rank highly in searches made by your intended audience.


By hosting web events and teleconferences instead of costly workshops and seminars, you will reduce the need for staff to travel. In fact, many electronic events have good attendance rates for the same reason – attendees will not be required to leave the office in order to participate. This said, remember that in order to have a real impact, these electronic events will need to be promoted well and executed properly.

Printed Materials

You can reduce company printing and shipping costs by partnering with a quality literature fulfillment company. Although research shows that over a quarter of requesters would like to share materials with their bosses and customers, most of them would be content to print out web pages or download PDF documents from your website. You can reduce print material costs by avoiding expensive ink choices; also ask your printer about available discounts for over-stock paper selections.


Partner with companies whose offerings compliment your own. Both parties may do better than they could alone by sharing resources. A good example would be a tandem mail-out, in which the costs are cut by sharing them, while the potential reach is increased for both. Yet another method is creating a referral program which rewards current customers for referring new prospects on to you.


By simply taking the time to sit back and think about things every so often, you may discover new ideas for eliminating the under-performing aspects of your marketing program. The best way to stand out as a valued contributor in tough times is to focus and show a superior return on investment.

M. H. “Mac” McIntosh is described by many as one of America’s leading B2B sales and marketing consultants and an expert on sales lead generation. See: for more info.

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