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Marketing in a Recession

At M.planet a few weeks ago, I heard a lot about the recession. Hell, you hear about it everywhere you go. Here were several hundred marketers, desperate to learn how to get people to buy products at a time when people aren’t buying anything. What did I learn?

Dennis Dunlap, CEO of the American Marketing Association, said there are two things to keep in mind while marketing in a recession:

1. We must market in the moment

2. We must have the discipline to adapt to whatever’s coming

What that says to me is that we have to be flexible. Not only do we not know what the economy holds, we also don’t know what technology holds. Right now, social media is hot. Tomorrow, it might be another marketing tool. But we can’t stop adapting to what comes our way.

Anne Mulcahy of Xerox gave this advice: “Pay attention to what your customers are telling you or someone else will.”

Despite these being hard times, if we don’t listen to our customers’ needs, we will lose serious market share.

John Hayes, CMO of American Express, told the audience that today’s “consumer is going through a massive sobriety.” He said that as marketers (just like Obama), we need to create hope and confidence in the marketplace. He encouraged us to establish listening posts to understand what our customers want. And he warned us that the world would pass us by if we’re not constantly innovating.

All good advice. I hope the audience, who seemed distant to social media techniques, took all this advice to heart. Because on the other side of this recession, I see only the people who are open to things like Facebook and Twitter as the ones who will survive.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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