Don’s Diatribe: Market, Even When the Market is Bad

I’ve seen it time and time again: When economic times are tough, entrepreneurs roll back or even suspend their marketing efforts.

The marketing budget is the first thing to get slashed. But history has proven time and time again that businesses that maintain or increase their marketing budgets during an economic downturn increase both their sales and market share–both during and after the downturn.

Being a successful marketer requires a number of make-or-break skills that separate the mediocre (or failed) business from the successful one. Unfortunately, most small-business owners simply do not understand the process of marketing. Here are a few tips for marketing during an economic downturn:

1) Think positively: View marketing as an important investment instead of a dreaded expense.

2) Know thyself: Recognize your objective (to increase or maintain sales, to promote a new product or service, etc.) and craft your marketing message accordingly.

3) The road less traveled: Look for low-cost or no-cost marketing opportunities such as press releases, email, blogs, social media, networking events, referrals and word-of-mouth.

4) Adventures in cyberspace: Update and maintain your website and direct as much traffic to it as possible.

5) Get more bang for your buck: Make sure what you do spend on marketing is effective and targeted to your core demographic.

6) Wash, rise, repeat: Measure the results of your marketing efforts frequently and make adjustments, if necessary.

7) Remember of the old adage: “When times are good, you should market; when times are bad, you must market.”

An economic downturn serves as sort-out time. Weaker businesses disappear, leaving behind the strong ones that eventually will benefit when the economy bounces back. And it will bounce back. In addition to marketing, if you are prepared in terms of finances, experience, and you are passionate about what you do, your business will survive the tough times ahead!

Donald Simon is president and CEO of Simon Business Consulting, Inc., a firm providing consulting services such as business and marketing plan development, incorporations, intellectual property advising, franchising regulatory assistance, and presentations on the basics of starting a small business. Send questions or comments to This blog is provided as a source of information and is not to be construed as legal advice or opinion, or to form an attorney-client relationship.  For legal advice, please consult an attorney.