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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Marketing Tips for Turbulent Times*

Our "new normality" has been a state of "heightened turbulence and chaos" that challenges leaders in business and government, observed Philip Kottler and John A. Caslione, authors of Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence (AMCOM: 2009). Their advice resonates more than ever today.

During turbulent times businesses should be pro-active and correct weaknesses while spotting and seizing new opportunities.

Kottler and Caslione urge companies to "increase marketing muscle" and maintain, not reduce, marketing budgets during recessions. Other suggestions for marketing departments are to:

  • "Secure your market share from core customer segments" before seeking new customers.
  • Win market share from competitors that have the same type of customers as your business has.
  • Recognize the pervasive feeling of insecurity, and "sell customers products and services that continue to make them feel safe."
  • Evaluate your marketing programs, and drop those that aren't working.
  • Protect the prices of your best brands as discounting makes original prices seem inflated. Also, you may not be able to restore the original prices later on.
  • Strengthen your strongest brands and products, and eliminate the weakest.
  • Study your customers more than ever because their needs and wants are in flux. Because of this volatility, your current marketing messages could be obsolete.

What type of market research does Winett Associates recommend during unsettled times?

  • Talk with customers and prospects about changes in their situations and shifts in their preferences and buying habits that could impact your company. Online surveys may not identify these trends.
  • Track moves by competitors that could create opportunities for your company. Such moves include acquisitions, changes in product lines and product prices, changes in marketing programs, the formation and dissolution of strategic partnerships, and abandonment of traditional markets.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of advertising and marketing initiatives, particularly initiatives that involve use of social media. Be prepared to experiment.
  • Monitor what others say about your company on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Respond when someone makes a misstatement about your company.

Primed with up-to-date market intelligence, you can successfully navigate these stormy times.

*An update of our Marketing Memo, February, 2010


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Copyright © 10/21 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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