In unstable economic times, like the “tsunami” we are experiencing now, many companies make a huge mistake.  They cut back, even suspend, all of their marketing efforts.  While this may seem like the smart place to make cuts when times are tough, it is clearly not the right move.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article…

“It is well documented that brands that increase (marketing) during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”

A recent survey sent out by to 175 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Marketing Executives showed that…

“…though CMOs are facing tough challenges in the current economic climate, 94% of those surveyed agreed with the statement, ‘A tough economic period is precisely the time when marketing plays a key role.’”

Companies that fine tune and aggressively target their marketing efforts during economic hardships, are usually the ones who weather the storm.  Think about it… if you are in a position where business is starting to dry up because of a bad economy, why would you take away the one thing that could help increase it.  It is like tossing a life preserver from a sinking ship.

Now, I am not saying go out and spend like crazy on advertising, or even Google AdWords.  I am advocating a smarter approach.  Find tools out there that are inexpensive like some of the social networking or “viral marketing” sites, for example.

Also noted in the survey was that “Social computing (including word of mouth, social networking sites, viral advertising, etc.) was the most popular emerging channel with 42% of marketing executives expressing interest in adding it to their marketing mix.”

Some useful social media marketing sites include:

Build your network and use it to your advantage.  This means in person and online.  Go to events, take business cards, collect business cards, and follow up.  You can find new business at local Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations, Networking Organizations, even Mom’s Clubs.

Another effective outreach tool is blog.  You know your industry, you know your business, write about it.  We do…

Do what it takes to get out there.  Marketing is not advertising, it is outreach.  Be smart.  Stay visible, stay on the offensive and it will pay off!

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.