In November, I posted on How to Market in a Recession, explaining the importance of free information, relevance and careful testing of marketing strategies.
The more I talk to clients and consider the best ways to grow my own business in the current climate, the more synergies I see. So I decided to share these learnings in the hope that they are useful to others.
It may seem hard to imagine, but there is indeed much business in the current climate. It’s just a case of identifying where it is and tailoring your proposition to fit. Here are some thoughts on how to run your business in a recession:
1. Explain the value in your proposition. Don’t just give your customers value, explain where the value is. Your customers may need to justify their spend either to a board, their colleagues or even themselves.
2. Provide open pricing models. Offer a variety of different pricing options with the services very clearly defined for each one. This puts customers fully in control of how much they buy and for how long. This is true whether you are promoting office maintenance services to companies or running a restaurant for tourists. By providing an ‘a la carte’ or ‘set menu’ offering, customers feel in control of their purse strings and are more likely to want to buy from you.
3. Understand your client’s business in depth. By tracking your client’s business, you can help them stay on track and understand the challenges that their business is facing.
4. Deliver quality. Quality is always a prerequisite, but look at the details. What more can you offer to enhance your service offering? What can you do better?
5. Sweat the detail. Think about everything that’s important to your customer and make sure that your products and services meet those needs. For example, if you are running a tourist restaurant next to a beach, what would make someone visit your cafe instead of the one next door? Then, no matter how inconvenient to you, make those changes. If there are fewer customers on the beach, you want them to be eating lunch with you, not your competitor down the promenade. It sounds Darwinian but it’s true. If you are running a telecoms service for businesses, what annoys clients about the way other companies send their bills, extend lines of credit, send their engineers, pick up the phone? Take every one of these points and do them better in your organisation, even if it means taking tough decisions.
6. Continue to market. There are some cuts that need to be made in tough times, but make sure that everyone knows you are still there and open for business. Use innovative strategies, challenge pricing models, by all means, but make sure you promote your company with as much energy as in the good times.
I hope that these thoughts are useful. It would be great to hear your experiences.