Updated: Dec 11, 2019
When times get complicated, it helps to go back to the basics. Many companies are exploring how to motivate and engage staff as well as attract customers and maintain their satisfaction with limited resources.
What can a business do during a slow time that makes work lives meaningful and increases customer satisfaction while not upsetting the budge?
First, there is a strategy and a need for understanding the tactic to obtain market share, especially during downtimes or slow periods of the year(seasonal business markets/recessions).
Market Share of Four Businesses During "Normal Times"
The graph to the left represents four separate companies. In a robust market, the assumption, there are enough customers for all four businesses in the market.
Businesses that maintained their marketing expenditures in the last recession and/or season achieved an average return on capital employed of 0.6%*
Here Are the Same Businesses After a Seasonal Downturn
As the market contracts, the pool of customers decreases. Each of the four businesses experienced decreases cash flow.
Businesses that decreased their marketing expenditures in the last recession achieved an average return on capital employed of -.8%*
Effect of Advertising Choices
Business "A" Chooses to aggressively advertise to attract a larger market share. Business "D" chooses to make across-the-board-cuts, including advertising, losing market share. Business "B" & "C" make no changes in their marketing Business "A"'s expanded share provides the cash necessary to return profitability to pre-recession (seasonal) levels.
Business "B" & "C" continue to struggle but manage to survive. Business "D" continues to lose share and to lose money.
*According to the 1998 PIMS study, businesses that increased their marketing expenditures in the last recession (season) achieved an average return on capital employed by 43%.
The Seasonal and/or Economic Revival
When the season returns and/or economy revives, each business retains its market share.
Business "A" emerges from the downturn with a larger market share and in a stronger
financial position. Businesses "B" & "C" managed to survive, but have lost share to Business "A".
Business "D" became a "victim" of the recession (seasonal change) and was forced into bankruptcy by a lack of customers.
What Marketing Strategy is Recommended
Going back to the basics, focusing on Lifetime Value Management, enhancing core product, and most importantly building customer relationships.
It is remarkably simple, does not cost much money, and pays off in many ways: especially strengthening relationships. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:
Focus on the clients you do have. When business is slow, it's easy to become obsessed about gaining new clients. Reach out to your current clients by giving them a call or a face-to-face meeting. You'll be amazed at how often your clients can share with you any unmet needs or opportunities for themselves and in the community.
Create consistent systems that will maintain the trust and connection in your client relationships and commit to using them.
Offer packages: Create a great deal on 2 services, so your clients can experience more of what you offer.
Referral incentives: Genuine, positive word-of-mouth referrals are a privilege. Show your company's gratitude when someone refers you to someone they know.
Offer the very best to your company's capability, but do not over promise and always deliver on your word. This alone may be a way to outdo your competitor!
Network and broaden your inner circle. Get out of your office and meet people! See the Chamber website for networking events and local newspapers for community events.
Build alliances. Explore how your company and another can build a mutually-beneficial relationship.
Volunteer. Be a mentor
Invest in your greatest asset: You and your staff. Now is a great time for training programs, business coaching, and workshops.
Start an in-house mentoring program to benefit from the wisdom and experience already present in your company
Connect with your team. Discover their strengths and be sure they are being utilized. Ask them what motivates them (surprisingly, it's not always money) and adapt the leadership style that taps into this.
Start a no-tolerance policy for negativity. Now more than ever, a good attitude is essential across the board.
Have some fun! Schedule an Open House, organize a potluck lunch for the office, or invite a speaker who can present a fresh perspective.
Long-term, quality relationships are the future of any business!
With a little effort and some creativity, your company can have what it takes to thrive beyond any current economic or seasonal situation. Be proactive by using downtime constructively and resourcefully. Get back to the basics and focus on