Small Business Owners need to Increase Marketing Efforts as the economy slows down.   Let me be clear, I am not advocating wild spending, but a thoughtful plan to keep your company, brand and products in front of your customers.

Where do you start?   John Quelch had several good suggestions in an article from the Harvard Business Review.  While much of his article was focused on larger companies, here are a few ideas which make sense for companies of every size:

  1. Research the customer – Instead of cutting the marketing transfer funds to your research budget, Quelch suggests can not afford to guess about what is going on in your consumers minds. Simple surveys are more affordable then ever with products like: Survey Monkey, Zoomarang or the survey tool bundled with Constant Contact.
  2. Maintain Frequency – If you have to cut marketing spending, Qualls suggests ( and I agree) it is important to maintain frequency.  How do you do that on a lower budget?  Shift to smaller ads, substitute less expensive medium and more focused medium to keep your brand visible.
  3. Adjust pricing tactics – Be creative! Instead of simply lowering your prices, look for ways to offer a less expensive alternative with fewer features, alternative payment plans or value bundles.

Kyle Lacy had some other interesting ideas in his recent blog post

I am convinced, the companes who stay focused, and stay in the game, with smart marketing  will be significantly ahead of their competitors a year from now.