As marketers, ad agencies, and business owners we are faced with a predicament: How do we continue marketing in an economic downturn? Amanda Covington, of the Austin marketing agency Blueshoe Spoonbend, offers five quick tips for making sound and strategic marketing decisions during a difficult time: As marketers, ad agencies, and business owners we are faced with a predicament: How do we continue marketing in an economic downturn? Amanda Covington, of the Austin marketing agency Blueshoe Spoonbend, offers five quick tips for making sound and strategic marketing decisions during a difficult time: 1. Stay visible Your customer base and potential clients need reassurance and you do this by staying visible through marketing. Pulling your marketing campaigns or cutting your budget means dropping off their radar and plays into the fears they have already developed. Losing your market presence could severely damage your brand and pose a difficult recovery in the long run. Tips: Try implementing low cost, high return campaigns utilizing online tactics. Spend some time analyzing your target market and looking for ways to refine or further segment. Most importantly, fine-tune your messaging to speak directly to your prospects current pain points and position yourself as an ally. 2. Look for opportunity Lets assume your .petitors have decreased visibility. Your continued presence places you in a prime spot to gain market share. If your .petitors are cutting corners and campaigns, they are losing customers and someone must be there to take up the slack. This could be an optimal time for growth for your organization. Tips: Try running a special campaign that highlights your strength, longevity, flexibility, or other brand attributes. The customers that your .petitors have lost must go somewherehelp them see that you are their champion in this rough race. 3. Love thy existing customer Your current customers are your lifeline. This is particularly true in difficult times. With sales down and fewer prospects, maintaining your foundation is vital. Tips: Run a special campaign to existing customers or offer an incentive to purchase, upgrade, or cross-sell. Do you have a customer loyalty program? If not, start one now. Ask for the referral. Your loyal customers will want to refer you business, but they often will not do it without prompting. A personal phone call or email does the trick most times. Create an incentive for referring and see how your pipeline grows. 4. Ramp up time If you make cuts now how long will it take to ramp activity back up later? The answer is too long. The cycle is simply too long to think a cut now wont affect your business long term. If you continue making major reactive decisions you will be six months to a year out from getting revved back up when things head North on the ticker. With lengthening sales cycles, you need to be putting more leads into the pipeline just to maintain your revenues. Statistics show that 53% of .panies are investing more in email marketing to house lists and 47% are spending more on Web 2.0 strategies. Tips: Starting a blog will generate online traffic and position you as a thought leader in the market. Try a drip email marketing campaign. Keep it simple with a strong call to action, refined messaging, and incentives to contact you. 5. Consider reallocation Traditional advertising is on the decline59% of .panies are decreasing TV and radio ads and 44% are decreasing print advertising. Online tactics, direct mail, telemarketing, and event marketing are all on the increase. Tips: Conduct a free webinar series. Offer your perspective and expertise to your market. Use direct marketing to spread the word and you are sure to increase lead generation with this soft sell approach. 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