Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Recovery Marketing: Hop on and Take a Ride

Now that the economy is on the road to recovery, here's how to get your marketing efforts back on track as well.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A little over a year ago and probably before, articles startedpopping up all over the place about selling in tough times,marketing in a down economy and the like. Now that we have startedto see a few more positive headlines, what now?

For the sake of prognostication, let me review. No, I am notdriving the car by only looking in the rearview mirror.

When times got tough, managers all over the place looked forplaces to cut costs. Marketers looked for newer places to sell andto sell more. Some business managers cut marketing and salesexpenses. Let me state here, once and very clearly, that is thewrong thing to do. Jay Conrad Levinson of guerrilla marketing famesays that "recessionary marketing" is a real opportunity.Bear with me on this review as we approach some new thoughts on"recovery marketing." During tough times, customers arelooking for real value. Effective marketing points out that realvalue to customers with the ensuing result of increased sales andincreased share of market.

What Levinson states for "recessionary marketing"applies to "turning-the-corner-and-coming-back"marketing, or "recovery marketing" as well, maybe evenmore. During recovery, lots of positioning occurs, while at thesame time skeptics are still about. During recovery, some peoplechoose as their favorite form of transportation to be hopping on abandwagon. Once the bandwagon fills up, companies look around ateach other and start to feel that it is almost too late to startaggressive marketing once again. The same old adage applies tomarketing, much like it does to work: "It's easier to keepit up than catch it up."

Do you know who your customersare? Read "DifferentStrokes" so your marketing can keep up with changingtimes.

Borrowing from "recessionary marketing" and applyingthe same mind-set, thought processes and applications to recoverymarketing will further separate the marginal companies from thesuccessful ones. Recovery marketing boils down to investing in thethree things that should have been invested in when times gottough:

1. Increase the size of orders.
2. Increase the frequency of orders.
3. Increase the number of customers you sell to.

Enhanced marketing programs and increased investment inmarketing accomplishes the above items. Free samples, seminars,consulting and speeches are incentives for the customer to buy moreand to do it more often. Now is the time to put that marketingline-item expense back into the budget. Prioritize three recoverymarketing initiatives now, don't deviate, and certainlydon't cut the expense or investment that is made. We'llleave the concepts of consistency, persistency and long-termthinking to other marketing articles.

Here are a few recovery tactics that will help your positioningas customers and prospects decide where to spend their growingdollars earned from a recovering economy:

  • Get publicity. If you don't already have a PRprogram in place, start one now. There are a multitude of reasonsto write a press release. Focus on one editor and get somethingpublished. This is free marketing and an effective technique thatshows up in all the "marketing in tough times"articles.
  • Enhance current customer attention. The best prospect isa current customer. This is true whether we are marketing in arecession or in a recovery or in a boom. Pay them the proper amountof attention. Prioritize them and see how far into their accountyou can gain share. Share of customer is always a priority and willhelp focus marketing efforts in a recovery.
  • Increase networking. Referral programs and word-of-mouthmarketing are still low-cost techniques associated with highsuccess rates. There are ways to enhance this, but you have to putyourself in front of the potential buyer in some fashion or anotheror have someone else do it for you.
  • Repackage your products and services as bundles orhigher-ticket items. This certainly attains that goal ofselling more per order. Customers who have stuck with you throughthick and thin will probably spend more in times of recovery.
  • Spend some money. Invest in that direct-mail programthat you've been putting off. Send that new brochure tocustomers and prospects. Sometimes positive talk about"preparing for the recovery" is very contagious.You'd be surprised what kind of mind-set you can create in yourown market.

These are a few things to get you back on track if you cut thatmarketing expense (and want to beat the bandwagon hoppers) and wantto ride the recovery wave. I can't wait to write the nextarticle in this series about "Marketing In BoomTimes!"

Alfred J.Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant,direct-mail promotion specialist, principal of marketing consultingfirm Market For Profits, and president and owner of The Ink Well, acommercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois. Visithis Web sites at and Al invites everyone to sign upfor his free report, "50 People to Instantly Add to YourNetwork." You'll also receive a free onlinenewsletter, "Market For Profits."

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks