Marketing In Hard Times
That’s not a very difficult idea to understand. Take it at its face value and it makes a great deal of sense. The logic is quite basic and the reasoning extremely practical. Given all such positives then, why is it that Louisiana businesspersons are hesitant to advertise in down cycles, like the one we are currently experiencing? Fear. It’s as simple as that. Fear.
The reason so many are fearful is that cash flow is unpredictable. Cash is not coming in steadily and when it does, it may be in dribs and drabs. Business is uncertain. The future is uncertain. With an uncertain future, one of the last items businesses focus on is advertising. Not knowing if they will have a business next year, owners will even cease all yellow page advertising, which admittedly has become pricey. But they will also shy away from other marketing as well, like a company website, to avoid further expenses. Anyone sense a pattern here?
We all know New Orleans has seen her share of bad luck, but when it comes to business, owners are sometimes so overwhelmed that they will work against their own better interests. For instance, before the worst U.S. manmade disaster hit the Gulf, the country was already in a recession; yet, New Orleans was doing financially better than most cities. But since so many Louisiana livelihoods, such as fishing, are now being irreversibly impacted, the area’s business community is putting itself on hold, like it did with Katrina. The question to ask therefore is how do we go about reversing this trend.
What the New Orleans business community has a habit of forgetting is that every day business, and even business recovery, does not happen magically. It is hard, sustained creative work that turns around an organization. In the past, companies succeeded because they went after business, in good times and bad.
At GLS we have done our own marketing for three decades. You might have even received a call from us. Cold calling was a lesson I inherited from my grandfather who owned a workingmen’s uniform business. My grandmother also worked there and at least one hour each day, five days a week she would pick up the phone book and start calling on companies. It was my grandfather’s belief that few businesses could remain busy at all times, so if and when that slack time did arrive, he would have the business to fill in those down periods–because he marketed his company.
My grandfather did not allow himself the time to be overcome with fear. He was too busy attending to business. When times were good he was there to assist his clients. When times were slow he looked for ways to change the work environment. Either way he was a doer and refused to sit back and not challenge himself every single business day.
Anyone would be foolish not to admit these are difficult times. You take a recession and on top of that drop millions of gallons of oil; the picture you see can look awfully dire. But we’ve come through depressions and bleak periods in the past. The more successful have always stood resolute as best they could to control their destiny. That was the only workable choice, and if some bit of luck happened to come along, the better for it.
No period of business has been totally hopeless without an eventual recovery. At least today we have the Internet. With the Internet every business owner can have a company website–and at a reasonable cost. This is, and should be, your avenue to the outside world. Not having enough finances is usually not the right excuse. Start small and build from there; but start building. Without a foundation there is no reaching out. Besides if you don’t try, how could you really know if you’ve truly failed? Think about it.