Recession Marketing: Lead or Get Left Behind

by David Kinard

Concept notes from PSAMA luncheon featuring Jan Edmondson of DDB Worldwide, Seattle.

Marketing in an Economic Downturn


Ability to articulate and communicate a passionate vision.
“Create a cause, not a company” Guy Kowasaki, CEO

Vision goes beyond bricks and mortar, revenue and profit goals.
* Believe in something.
* Know the end.
* Have a value proposition.
* Total employee buy-in.
* Create advocates.

Many visions, no vision…what’s the penalty.
“A vision without execution is a hallucination.”


1. How do you sustain and nurture the will to survive?

2. Be willing to take risks…without the risk of failure.

3. Work smart, not just hard. This isn’t about doing new things…just things better.

4. Motivate your staff.

5. Remain ruthlessly humane.

6. Don’t panic. Keep a sharp focus.


1. Know everything about your

o Customers
o Clients
o Competitors
o Category

2. What is the one thing you stand for?

3. Create an enemy.

o Create an enemy for internal motivation…a common cause.

“Customers don’t stop buying in an economic downturn. They look harder for value.” Ad Age Magazine. We don’t stop living in economic hard times…we make wiser choices.

Four Things You Can Do Now…

1. Love your customer-one at a time.

o Target the low hanging fruit. Your existing customers. Give them a reason to buy again. Turn brand friends into brand lovers.

2. Communicate clearly and precisely.

o Understand the path to purchase or decision/buying cycle. Make objectives measurable to ROI.

3. Spend wisely.

o Continue to invest into the brand. Whatever you do or don’t do will have an impact down the road. (Think of your brand as a car, and your budget as the fuel.)

4. Use the right tools.

o Right marketing mix. Arrows versus cannon balls. Try for “talk value”-will the idea get buzz? Focus on another kind of ROI-return on ideas, investment, inspiration.

Three Golden Rules

1. Customer retention.

2. Promote value proposition.

3. Seek strategic alliances.

David Kinard, M.Ed., PCM, (The Marketing Guy) is a marketing expert that speaks professionally, and is the principal of Access Marketing Solutions, a Seattle-based firm that works with associations that want to revolutionize their industries, and their members who want to reenergize their marketing. He can be contacted at 206-525-5501 or by visiting where you can also join his FREE email newsletter MondayMarketing(tm).

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