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Advertising in Slow Times

Don't react rashly to falling sales by cutting your ad budget. See what deals you can get first.
October 1, 2001

Q: If my sales start to fall off, should I cut back on my advertising?

A: No! It's the link to your customers! The answer lies in getting tougher with media negotiations and changing your message.

Getting tougher won't be all that difficult to do if business falls off, because when sales slide for companies like yours, it also slides for the media. You need each other to survive. Radio and TV reps will be looking to sell chunks of time to ensure your business, because it will free them up to look for fresh meat to fill the gaps in their budgets. They will be inclined to get creative and do what they can to keep you as a client, be it with special-value packages, deeper discounts for long-term or bulk contracts, or providing you with "free spins" when they can.

What you may want to look at is a change in your message, to advertise price breaks and special deals of your own or changes in inventory that are more appropriate for your customers who may also be tightening their belts. No matter what the economy does, you must fill the needs of your customers, whether that means engaging in customer loyalty promotions or providing extra value and service along with looking at what you sell and how you deliver it.

Kathy Kobliski is the founder and president of Silent Partner Advertising, where she oversees multimedia advertising budgets for retail and service clients. Her book, Advertising Without an Agency, was written for business owners who are working with small advertising budgets and can't afford professional help. You can reach Kathy via her website at

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.