Times are tough. Which means it’s time to dive boldly into marketing.
[2020 update to a post from… a previous recession.]
When times are good, everyone’s marketing. Competition is brutal. The playing field is crowded with cash-rich competitors pouring money into building their brands and grabbing client attention.
Not today. Firms are doing much less image-building. Studies from previous recessions show that the firms that continued to market aggressively throughout the bad times did significantly better than their competitors both during the downturn and for years afterwards.
Of course, that’s a tough decision when you’re laying off valued personnel and renegotiating deals with your banks and landlords. It requires strategy, guts, and a long-term view.
I’d suggest your goal shouldn’t be simply to survive the pandemic economy. Rather, consider using it to leapfrog the competition.
Getting your advertisements noticed in a 100-page business publication is tough. The May and June 2020 issues of many of these weighty publications will look more like pamphlets, as advertisers pull their ads or renegotiate their contracts to delay payments until Q4. Sitting at home, your target audience has more time to read online publications and they’re desperate for news. You should have both content and marketing strategies to keep your message in front of them, credibly and consistently. The readership hasn’t changed, but periodicals are only as thick as there are ads to support them.
When advertisers thin, so do the magazines. Standing out becomes easy.
Your competitors are still hiding. They’ve become invisible. Now is the time to seek to lead your market; it’s cheaper, easier, and more effective than ever. Building something now positions you for market dominance later.
A McGraw-Hill Research study of over 600 businesses (see Northwestern University’s Innovating through a Recession by Professor Andrew J. Razeghi at the Kellogg School of Management), showed that business that maintained or increased their ad spend during the recession averaged higher sales growth both during the recession and in the following three years.
For businesses that maintained or increased their ad spend during that recession, sales had risen 256% over those that had cut back on advertising.
One study found that aggressive recession advertisers increased market share 2.5 times the average for all businesses in the post-recession years.
Of course, there are tremendous visibility-enhancing opportunities online as well. A mix of print and online media is the best solution, and struggling publications are desperate to make a deal, lowering their rates and offering value-added perks.
Most firms are investing their current efforts in solidifying existing client relationships and deepening Trusted Advisor relationships. Savvy firms are also seeking to build their thought leadership and helping shepherd their best clients through the current crisis.
Keeping what you have is a vital part of an organization’s survival strategy. But the most strategic organizations know that positioning yourself for growth and leadership now yields significant benefits for the long term.
Whatever you do… do it now.
Want to help your lawyers market their practices while sheltering in place?
Buy them electronic copies of Ross’s two new 2020 “Working From Home” books, The Ultimate Law Firm Associate’s Working-from-Home Marketing Checklist and The Ultimate Law Firm Partner’s Working-From-Home Marketing Checklist. (1) Click the links to buy individual Kindle copies on Amazon, or (2) Contact Ross directly for bulk ebook discounts for all your lawyers at email@example.com!