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April 5, 2010

3 Marketing Mistakes That Sink Business in a Recession

A recession does not mean the end of your business unless you navigate those rough waters blindly. Here are three rocks that can sink your business ship unless you avoid them while navigating the dangerous waters of a tough market. You might get wet but no need to capsize.

Cut expenses across the board

Cut marketing. Cut staff. Cut all expenditures! This siren call is the most common and foolish mistake. It’s common because it is a knee jerk reaction that requires no thinking. It’s foolish for the same reasons. Making across the board cuts is a political response. It’s not a smart business strategy. If cutting across the board in tough times was smart then raising all expenses in good times would also be smart.

Instead, review all expenditures and categorize each line item into A, B and C categories in terms of ROI. “A” items are those expenditures where you can measure a strong return. Continue spending and maybe even increase these investments. “B” items are those that you believe are good but you haven’t yet developed an accurate measurement. Continue these activities, improve the tactics and improve the measurement. “C” items are losers. Stop these completely.

Cut your prices

You will be asked to cut your price. Don’t act like that is a surprise. And don’t pretend that this is the first time. So prepare for an onslaught of such requests. Prepare to deal with the price issue strategically not as a prisoner. Don’t cut price – without an equivalent exchange in value or a reduction in your costs. For example you might allow a discount for early payment or a larger order.

Another way to deal with price resistance is to introduce a lower value product. At the same time introduce a higher value product so the original product which is now in the middle looks more attractive. This is a variation of the good-better-best positioning. If you can’t afford a Lexus you can always buy a Toyota.


Imagine how it looks when you stop attending trade shows, discontinue your advertising, shelve your newsletter, stop meeting with clients and avoid networking events. Imagine what your clients will think, what your competitors can say and what prospects might believe. None of it will be positive for you or your business.

When times are bad, people need to hear from you more often. Especially make a point of connecting with your best clients and advocates more often. Make your connections more personable so they can feel your confidence.

For the rest of your clients and contacts find efficient ways to stay connected. Maybe it’s a good time to launch your newsletter – or publish it more often. Explore the tools on the Internet that allow you to stay in touch with people easier and more cost effectively. It might be a good time to launch your blog, build your FaceBook page or post videos on YouTube.

A recession can be tough. No need to panic. It’s time to think and act smart with your marketing. Keep your business off the rocks while aiming for the deeper waters beyond. Don’t stop paddling until you are clear of the rocks.

© George Torok is the co-author of the bestselling Secrets of Power Marketing. It’s published in at least seven countries. He helps small and medium businesses gain an unfair advantage over the competition. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” at Arrange for Torok to speak at your conference by visiting http:/// For media interviews call 905-335-1997