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Dealing with Tough Times; Six Steps to a Rapid Business Turn-Around

When dealing with tough times, a recession, or recovery from C-19 issues, marketers have a key role to play.  So how to take the opportunity to restore business growth. Here are six pointers for a speedy business turn-around:

1.   Start by ensuring your business fundamentals are sound

It has always been the case that the most successful businesses are those that are the most customer or audience driven. If the tough times have caused a sales reduction, this may indicate weakness in your offer which needs to be fully understood and addressed.  Whatever the economic situation, robust insights must inform your targeting, products, and promotions. Only when you have a strong offer and sound strategy in place will you ever be in a position to invest and grow.

2.   Maximise cash

Marketers can do much to bring forward and maximise cash flows, for example by rewarding early payment. Do your bit to control costs too. Consider using more efficient communications and seeking out smarter and better value agencies. If a worst-case rationalisation is required, view it as an opportunity to ‘right-size’. Also, make sure that the right resources are in the right places and perhaps refresh the culture. This then provides a more robust foundation for renewed growth.

3.   Be more vigilant to threats and opportunities

Marketers should lead; in particular to ensure that corporate antennae are installed and working properly. While tough times present threats, they also present opportunities – a weak competitor here, a lower cost investment opportunity there. There will rarely be a greater opportunity for the smart marketing and research department to prove their worth. So provide timely intelligence and quality thinking on how to realise those opportunities.  In particular, look to, and try and anticipate the future. Specifically, look for threats and opportunities by talking to consumers and reviewing what your competitors are doing. Reading investment blogs and company reports also provide potential sources of insight. In addition, consider using scenario planning to work through and determine the best business turn-around strategies.

4.   Don’t stop promoting your products but do be smarter about how you do it

There are many studies that show how the share of advertising voice correlates with market share. Further, those who invest in proactive marketing during tough times are the first to emerge and the strongest when the good times return. Also use creativity to add value to your brand and avoid creating a hostage to fortune.

5.   Cultivate a mindset of controlled aggression!

Test major business building initiatives on a low cost, controlled risk basis to ensure that they work. Only when you have the metrics to prove that they work should you invest heavily.

6.   Invest while the bargains abound

In tough times those under pressure often cut their prices or become cheaper to buy. So grab bargains, for example cheaper advertising, while they are around. Also consider good value hires or business acquisitions.

Marketing Inspiration

1.Darwinist fundamentals apply. So make sure that your business and brand strategies are based on true insight and facts by using robust market research. Only then can you best focus resources on being as fit and competitive as possible.
2. Take a long and also a short term view. Take proper notice of threats and opportunities by making sure your corporate antennae work properly. Thus you’ll be more proactive and timely in spotting opportunities and making investment recommendations to your Board.
3. Grasp lower cost marketing opportunities while they abound. In so doing you will be able to go for growth while others are still sitting on their laurels. Thus ensuring a speedier business turn-around.

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