Learn How to Market your way through the recession

Learn How to Market your way through the recession

Last week I was travelling through the Zambian Copper Belt for a client when I received the news that in March 2020 South Africa is once again in a technical recession… Amazing… Now What? This is how to market your way through the recession.

Recession… Amazing… Now What?

Travelling in Zambia is a bit of an eyeopener and a reassurance that South Africa recession can’t be all that bad. I travelled through a few Zambian towns in the Copper Belt such as Ndola, Kitwe, and Solwezi and noticed a couple of interesting things that made me think about our new found recession in South Africa. 

The client I am working for supply beef products through a number of towns across Zambia and is extremely successful. Without a doubt, all humans, their clients need to eat and nothing compliments a mealie meal dish like beef stew. Not so coincidently, my client owns a corn mill too, making and supplying mealie meal to the nation.

After a long discussion about their economy I come to this conclusion:

You may not have control of the South African macro-economy but you can definitely influence your micro-economy by following a number of steps that should be in place even if the economy is thriving. I completed a bit of research and uncovered a number of tips on how to market your way through the recession.

How to protect your business and How to Market your way through the recession

Looking after your business during a recession is essential because you basically have 2 options available:

1 – Pack it all in, and run and hide. 

This is not always a bad option especially if you are close to retirement and you were planning on winding the business down. 

2 – Follow these 9 steps so that you can weather the storm and when the economy takes a turn for the better, you will be able to pull through.

[bctt tweet=”Follow these 8 steps so that you can weather the storm and when the economy takes a turn for the better, you will be able to pull through.” username=”marketmagnet”]

  • Protect your cashflow

We all know that cash is king and during tough times there seems to less of it going around. In my opinion, the cash never disappears people just hold on to it more tightly. This means, however, that people tend to spend less on the things they want and only buy the things they really need. 

In my case, I am a coffee addict and I am also addicted to Bar-One Chocolates, so I need to decide what I want and what I need. I want chocolate but I need my caffeine fix. Coffee is more important so I prioritise coffee over the chocolate and this helps my cashflow.

Your cashflow protection is essential if you have clients that are struggling to pay you. If needed, structure payment plans with your creditors as well as your debtors so that your cashflow is manageable. The worst thing you can do is not communicate with both debtors and creditors, open honest communication will keep the wolves away from the door.

  • Review inventory management processes

There is nothing worse than not being able to supply your clients but at the same time holding stock will cost you a great deal. Finding the perfect balance of the necessary stock quantities to hold versus the stock items clients will take on backorder is key in making sure that your warehouse is not tieing up your cashflow.

  • Focus on your core competencies

Your business cannot be everything to everyone. Examine your past few months sales and know what items or services are your top-selling lines and focus on promoting these. The proof is in the pudding, top-selling items should keep selling if the need is strong enough. You will know which are your top sellers, if you don’t, do your homework and identify your core items and focus all efforts on these first.

  • Target your competitors’ customers

Tough times call for tough measures and the recession is a good time for you to attract your client’s clients. This is easier said than done as it requires vast amounts of effort. Research your competition, see what is giving them a leading edge over you and position your products and services to become more attractive to their clients. 

Offer new client bonuses, first-time buyer discounts and the best quality and service available.

  • Make the most of current customers and clients

Following on from the last section, your competitors may be trying to attract your customers. Don’t neglect your clients or take them for granted, they too are looking for better deals, service and quality. Look after your clients and do all you can to keep them from responding to competitors actions. 

Another very important aspect of current clients is that if you have looked after them well, they may be inclined to buy from you again. In fact, if your sales team or sales process is proactive, they should identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities for all your past clients. 

  • Don’t cut back on Marketing

One of the first budgets that get cut in tough times is the marketing budget. This is one of the biggest mistakes that happen and we see it happening over and over again. Marketing is an investment in the promotion of your business. If potential clients don’t know you exist, how will they know that they should consider buying from you? Marketing will keep in you and your brand in the mind’s eye of your prospects and customers. Keep marketing so that your competition doesn’t win your customers over.

  • Keep your personal credit in good shape

Personal credit is one of the biggest stress factors that surrounds many businesses from the staffs’ point of view. The stress of not knowing if you will be able to make your bond or car payment is detrimental to your performance as well as that of your team. Get your personal finances in order, consolidate your debt if necessary and encourage your staff to do the same. 

  • Look for alternative ways of attracting clients

Recession time is not the time for business as usual. Find different ways of attracting and meeting clients. 

Lexus in the USA made this work very well for themselves in the 2008 recession. 

This is their story and what they managed to do…

During the 2008 recession, no one was walking into the dealerships to test drive cars which means that there were no bums in seats and no orders signed.

The marketing team sent the sales teams to top golf courses around the country and instructed them to socialise with the golfers as they finished their game. As the conversations progressed the salespeople would ask the golfers what line of work they were in and prompted the golfers to have the question asked back to them. Their response was that tested and demoed a range of high-end vehicles. They spoke about the crisp quality of the Bose sound system and the smooth ride experience. They then offered a ride to the golfers and sold more cars this way than just about any other brand.

The moral of the story is to get creative in the way you and your sales team interacts with clients and prospects. 

Which industries thrive in a down economy or during a recession?

Not to say that if you don’t fall into one of these categories that you should pack it all in but here is a list of industries that tend to either maintain their standing or perform well during a recession.

  • Food and Beverage Industry

Everyone needs to eat and drink. It may not necessarily be luxury cuisine but all people need nutritional sustenance. In a similar manner to my Zambian client, no matter how tough life becomes, people need to eat and in really difficult times people will sacrifice luxuries for food basics.

  • Cash Converters, Cash Crusader and Pawn Shops

Besides selling their unwanted goods, people tend to shop in these types of businesses in order to find a better deal. One person’s junk is another’s treasure. 

  • Repair Industry

This is a no brainer, it generally costs far less to have an item repaired than the cost of replacement. Repairing your personal or business items is also a good way of protecting your cash flow.

  • Health and Senior Services Industry

When times are tough our stress levels rise and there is nothing worse for productivity than getting sick. Servicing the health industry is big businesses and many succeed from selling lotions and potions that keep the sniffles and possibly the Coronavirus away.

The senior service industry is without a doubt an industry that is growing and will continue to do so from many aspects including catering, medical and even as far as entertainment.

  • Cleaning Services

Cleaning services goes almost hand in hand with the repair industry. Keeping clean and maintaining office space, housing and goods will save costs and prolong the life and look of your items.

How to Market your way through the recession and How can you use this information to maintain a stable business.

Awareness is key to managing your business and finding alternative ways of looking after your cash flow, health and the income you generate. Take a zoomed-out look at your business and see where you can cut expenses, optimise your processes and get your staff on board with often tough strategic decisions and then focus on reaching out and market your way through the recession.

This is how to market your way through the recession.

  • Don’t cut your marketing budget

Marketing is the one essential element of recession proofing your business. Marketing generates leads and leads turn into sales which generate cash flow and profit. 

Don’t cut your marketing budget but manage it wisely. Invest money on the lowest-cost, highest-yield marketing and advertising platforms and get your sales team to be more creative their client outreach.

  • Know what your target audience does during a recession

Understanding how your target clients and prospects react during the recession will help you tailor your marketing efforts and place it strategically in front of potential clients when they are most interested or in need of your offer. This will help you cut through the marketing clutter and stand out as a beneficial solution to their problems and concerns.

As obvious as this may seem, you need close scrutiny of all your advertising and promotional activities. How much did you invest in the campaign, what was the reach, how many leads were generated and how many sales were closed? 

You will probably find that your online campaigning will be far more trackable and cost-effective than any offline promotion.

Increase your promotional success by measuring everything, cut back on low-performing platforms and push hard on those that deliver results and a return on investment.

Control the controllable

[bctt tweet=”Control the controllable” username=”marketmagnet”]

It is up to Cyril Ramaphosa and the government to structure policies that are attractive enough to increase international investment in South Africa and positively affect the Macro-Economy and in a similar way, it up to you to take control of your Micro-Economy and build your business within your circle of influence. So instead of just ticking over, like the economy, I experienced in Zambia, become proactive with your marketing so that you can take control of the sales in your business and control your micro-economy.

If you want help growing your business throughout this recession with a strategic focus on your ideal clients and building a business and brand that is attractive to your competitors’ clients, lets chat… Book a free no-obligation assessment of your current marketing and uncover additional marketing assets and opportunities hidden in your business. Contact us on www.markertmagnet.co.za and let’s chat.