According to a recent survey, 73% of marketers see difficult or uncertain economic times as an opportunity to grow their businesses. Why? During times of uncertainty, competitors pull back on their marketing. This creates a vacuum that you can exploit. When competitors show weakness, you show strength. When competitors are silent, get in their customers’ ears! This can have huge payoffs in the immediate term and down the road.
Here are three ways to invest in your print, digital, and cross-media marketing right now.
1. Think “growth.” The easiest time to build your market share is when your competitors pull back. Think of it as like buying stocks in a down market. You buy down-market stocks cheaply, and their value grows exponentially when the market bounces back. That’s true of market share, too. Don’t just think about selling more products. Think about going after new customers. Where are your competitors weak? Where are they missing the mark? Create a plan to go after the customers your competitors are ignoring.
2. Invest in your “growth engine.” Highly effective marketing is data-driven marketing, so invest in what will give you the biggest bang for your buck: your database. Dig in and get to know your customers—really get to know them. Who buys most frequently? Who buys the most at once? Who buys the most over time? What are the common characteristics of each group? Use this information to refine and better target your messaging. Like market share, this research will pay off both now and in the long term.
3. Market from a position of positivity. When things are uncertain, positive messaging (“we are here to help”) will often have longer-term benefits than the messaging of fear. If you are a fashion retailer, offer ways to put together new looks with items your customers already have. If you’re a coffee shop, suggest easy-to-make cookies or breakfast bakes that pair perfectly with your gourmet coffee blends. Be a thought leader, a partner, and a trusted vendor who isn’t just looking to make a sale but who has their best interest in mind.
Down markets can be challenging, but they don’t last forever. Use this time to invest in your business and your customers for the long haul. You will be better positioned when the market rebounds, with a higher market share and even more loyal customers.
 “The Optichannel Opportunity” (RRD, 2023)