Any business that downplays the importance of marketing in times of a downturn, is only a step towards the last fall. You don’t cut marketing budget or marketing completely when you are in difficulties in terms of revenue, profits among others.
You rather change your strategy and be more aggressive and do better targeting.
Humans fall sick, so do businesses; humans can be cured when sick, so do businesses; humans become active when healthy and so do businesses. A business like a human being has equally been given an identity in definition as a separate legal entity.
It is therefore incumbent on the managers of the business to cure it when it falls sick, for the longer you hide your sickness, the nearer you get to your grave. This is the story of most businesses in Ghana.
In Ghana a lot of businesses have fallen mainly due to their inability to face the reality when they had to. A lot of the business owners or entrepreneurs saw the fall of their businesses coming, but instead of taking actions they pretended to the general public. The public also paid them back by pretending to continue doing business with them whiles they quietly fold up eventually. A business collapse does not happen overnight. It is a journey.
Marketing which could halt the collapse of many businesses is rather punished and ill- treated at a time it is needed most. Every entrepreneur or business owner must be a sales person.
Facing The Reality
As we sit quietly and conclude that the financial crisis in the banks that led to the collapse of some six or so banks is over; there are more other financial institutions who are bleeding even more than the ones whose licenses were withdrawn. These companies are still pretending to be well instead of facing the reality to solve their problems.
Marketing brings to the fore the hidden which is always of importance to the business to the target audience or populace to make decisions. Companies which are quiet and rather keep hiding from the truth are rather harming themselves.
When a business runs into debts, it is not supposed to stop running whiles chasing debt but rather keep running and chasing debts at the sometime but in a more aggressive way. In Ghana, when businesses run into debts or trouble, the next option is to stay back and see how to pay off their debts. This is a time for marketing.
Remember as a business, when you stop working your fixed cost keeps working and keeps building up more costs. This is what will let you down faster than expected.
Marketing is the best tool to use when your business runs into difficulties.
The first marketing tool to jump on is the Public Relations (PR). This is the time the business leaders must leave their seats, meet with their debtors and all stakeholders and assure them of great business days ahead. This is the time to hold business meetings and cocktails to assure your stakeholders. It is not the time to coil into your seat and wait for the unexpected.
The second key tool for the business that is in crisis is the website and social media pages. A lot more people at this time will continuously visit your website and your social media pages to check on the last time something was posted. They get the affirmation there. A recent intentional and created post is a sign that the business is still active.
In addition to PR, website and social media is Branding. In our marketing parlance we say a tired logo is a clear sign of a tired business. Why do you see most businesses always refreshing their logos and painting their buildings? This is the space that people see you in when driving past. A beautiful outlook and interior gives visitors who are curious to know what is happening hope that you are still active and not collapsing.
It is important that companies plan their set up well. Some businesses always place the core staff who are many at the front such that when they are in trouble and you visit, you can instantly count all the seats empty. An affirmation that the business is in trouble. These things do not cost much.
In furtherance to the above marketing tools is a simple letter or email that one can drop at companies with the intent of doing business. Most of them will be shocked that a business they thought had collapsed is there to see them. In this way, they are more than anxious to meet you. This is the time to sell your new story. Don’t tell lies. Admit that as usual in any business, you have gone through some challenges and currently fixing them as such you need their business and support. You need to give them some comfort as well to continue doing business with you.
Let me conclude by reechoing that you do not stop marketing your business, products and services when the business is facing challenges; rather invest subtle in low hanging marketing activities. You need marketing more at this time than before.
The writer is the CEO of Origin8, one of Ghana’s leading Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Events company.
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