With talk of a looming recession everywhere you turn, it's time to start thinking about how to keep customers coming back and create new demand in spite of the fact that times are tighter.
For many companies, that means finding a way to get the message out in a meaningful way without spending more money-or spending less, if marketing budgets face cutting.
"If you can do a better job at demonstrating value to customers who are spending more conservatively, you'll do a better job at hedging against drops in sales," said Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, of Minneapolis.
That means turning to cost-efficient, effective marketing methods that are measurable and that will immediately tell you whether you are getting a good bang for you buck.
Online marketing fits the bill. Eminently less expensive than print ads and other types of advertising, online marketing also is completely measurable.
Most small and midsize companies already use some of these online marketing methods, but now that the economy has slowed and spending is tightening up, it's an ideal time to try new ways to create mind share, said Michael Boland, an analyst with Kelsey Group, a Princeton, N.J.-based firm that provides market intelligence on the SMB (small and midsize business) advertising market.
If you haven't optimized your search engine placement, do that by, for example, updating your search terms. If you have never started a blog, now's the time to try it. And if you have never tried social networking, definitely try that, he said.