Saturday, May 2, 2009
Success from Adversity
As the season gets into full swing, we are all feeling the effects of the down economy. There are opportunities for all of us in these situations. We have the opportunity to let our customers know that our business is confident in its ability to weather the economic storm. The credibility of your business will only be enhanced through any positive public relations efforts during tough times. Proactive marketing in a down economy will act as a defense against declining sales and will allow for increased market share by coaxing customers away from competitors. Keeping your name in front of potential customers is the key.
We all know that at some time in the future the economy will come back. Your competitors will start advertising again. If you have continued to advertise through these rough times you will have a competitive edge. Your return to prosperity will be stronger and quicker than your competitors. "Marketing News reported that in 2001, companies that maintained or increased their marketing efforts managed to boost their market share and outperform those organizations with decreased marketing by almost 250 percent. Organizations that aggressively marketed increased their market share by 1.5 percent, and the organizations that managed to survive the recession and decreased their marketing budget only gained 0.2 percent..”
So let’s say you agree with my proposition. How do you convince yourself if you are the owner to keep spending money on marketing and advertising when you are cutting everywhere else in your budget? Rethink your methodology for starters. Use different tools to keep your name and message in front of customers. Use the internet. Emails, blogs and websites are all cost effective tools for getting the message out. If you are not using these tools now, then it is time to learn. Marketing your business requires entering the age of Web 2.0. A second way to stay in front of your customer base is to use other enterprises assets to get your name out. You can offer to host (or at least allow use of your facility) a public charity event in your area for a popular charity. A hole-in-one, a putting or miniature golf competition will generate traffic and get your name out. Let the charity promote the event through its channels. Your facility will get innumerable positive exposures.
Use this opportunity to see what works. Ask customers through electronic surveys or by just making sure to ask as they pass the cash register how they heard about you and what they are looking for.
During difficult times it is more important than ever not to lose good customers so listen carefully to what they are saying. As discussed in an earlier blog, find palatable alternatives for customers. Possibly pursue the sale of a set of new grips or shafts rather than trying to force a sale of new clubs. While discretionary spending will go down during tough times, customers will spend on products with perceived value. Use your limited advertising dollars to promote brands all ready established in the market place. Don’t offer “re-shafting specials” offer “XXX brand re-shafting specials.”
Give yourself every chance to successfully weather the storm and be prepared to seize every opportunity when we climb out of the current economic circumstances.