Part 2: Yes, You Can Recession-Proof Your Business!
--Bob Martel, JMB Marketing Group

Hear that zipping sound? It’s your customers closing the purse strings on their wallets until the economy improves. In a recessionary period, more than ever, you will be competing for seemingly scarce expendable income, as your customers delay their purchase decisions.

Hear that silence? It’s your phone not ringing, and chances are it’s due to under-marketing your business in the good times. You took your marketing budget and spent it on toys, technology, or a trip to Mazatlan, didn’t you?
Too many businesses fail to properly budget for marketing in the good times, or they spend it like sailors on shore leave (something I know a little bit about!), without concern for the return on investment. Looking for ways to win back customers?
Review this white paper on how to win back customers with email append here.

It’s time to hold your company accountable for making the right marketing decisions, and for measuring each and every marketing program. In fact, it’s time to make everyone accountable, especially those with customer contact.

8.) Stay connected with your key customers and increase your perceived
value. Through your marketing and, more importantly, through your service delivery, remind them of your unique selling proposition. Testimonials provide social proof, and products and services that perform as promised also strengthen your relationship. I have documented 34 reasons to write a sales letter to your current customers. It’s yours for the asking, via email.

9.) Invest wisely in customer retention; start with an annual hand-written thank you card to every customer. Loyalty is not a thing of the past. The best way to build a loyal customer base is to consistently deliver your products and services, exceeding expectations!

10.) Focus on post-purchase reassurance to avoid cognitive dissonance, or buyer’s remorse. This is especially important for higher priced products and services. Reinforce their decision and their choice to do business with you by helping them realize they made the right purchasing decision.

11.) Conduct your own marketing self-audit. Look at every program, and look at what you are not doing but know you should. An audit will uncover opportunities that you may not now see. You can get a free marketing audit questionnaire at my website.

12.) Look at every aspect of your marketing strategy. Are your offers compelling and refreshing, with high perceived value? Are you focused on back-end selling and harvesting profitable sales from the relationships you have developed?

13.) Focus on the lifetime value of your customers and start “working the model” to create marketing leverage. Up-sell, cross-sell, educate, thank and sell, stimulate referrals.

14.) Launch a customer “win-back” campaign. A sales letter or a phone call will do the trick.

Every business tightens their belt in a tough economy, out of necessity. Focus on the fundamentals—athletes know this is the secret to success. Increase your commitment to a disciplined, properly funded marketing action plan. Become a student of marketing (even if you are already a marketing pro). Look outside of your industry for new marketing ideas. Step outside of your own business and see what “best in class” marketing really looks like for your business. Sometimes, we are too close to the business to see the obvious marketing solutions. Smart markets will use this as an opportunity to keep their share of the pie—and take a piece from their (sleeping) competitors, ensuring they are well positioned for growth as the economy improves.

Oh, one last thing. Make all of your employees smile before they pick up the phone or greet a customer. A smile goes a long way toward cementing a business relationship. Smiles are free – so make them a part of your recession-proofing game plan. Try it for 30 days.

---Source: Bob Martel is principal consultant at the JMB Marketing Group. JMB Marketing works with business owners and principals to help them take their business where they want it to go, ultimately to help them generate all of the business they can handle. He may be contacted at (508) 481-8383, or through his web site, Email him at with your comments about this article.

To read the first seven tips, see Bob’s article from last week’s issue!

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