In a tough economy or a market that is suddenly cluttered with new and emerging competitors, marketers need to implement survival strategies designed to help them survive and thrive. There are a number of things they can do to help re-energize their efforts, from reviewing costs and pricing to evaluating competitive positioning and exploring new marketing. Most importantly, a tough market is not the time to stop communicating through effective promotion.
Review Costs and Pricing
Pricing is an important element of marketing, particularly when the economy is tight. Pricing can be impacted by both the cost of producing goods and services, and by the willingness of consumers to pay a certain price for a particular product or service. Pricing decisions are complex, but should be reviewed regularly with an eye toward balancing profit and demand, as well as ensuring that price points are aligned with desired brand identity and positioned effectively against competitive products and services.
The competitive landscape changes on a regular basis, and marketers in survival mode need to ensure that they are positioned competitively -- and effectively -- compared to their competitors. Rather than taking a "me, too" approach, marketers should differentiate themselves from the competition in ways that are meaningful, and valued, by their target markets. For instance, a pizza shop may choose to differentiate itself by offering local or organic ingredients. An auto glass repair business may choose to differentiate itself by providing on-site service.
Explore Alternative Markets
Marketers in survival mode may want to explore the possibility of expanding into new markets. These new markets could include new consumer segments or new geographies. For instance, a local dry cleaner may review its customer demographics and find that most customers come from within a 15-mile radius. The shop could expand that market area by offering pick-up and delivery services to businesses within a 50-mile radius. A company that has sold its products primarily to a female market may wish to explore opportunities to attract a male audience.
Don't Stop Promoting
During tough times, it can be tempting to cut costs by cutting down on advertising expenditures. This can be a catch-22, though, as decreasing promotional efforts is likely to decrease awareness. Instead of cutting back or stopping promotion, marketers in survival mode should consider creative alternatives for getting the word out about their products and services. Social media offers a number of low-cost options to connect with potential consumers; other options include co-op advertising or co-branding with other, non-competitive businesses.