Does Common Marketing Wisdom still Apply?

Common marketing wisdom in a recession says the following.

“It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”[1]

This obviously assumes that the spending is done in a thoughtful and well targeted manner.

Does this still apply with our current conditions or do we need a new recession marketing philosophy? What do you think?

[1] John Quelch, Marketing Your Way Through a Recession, Harvard Business School, March 3, 2008


Lindy Dreyer said...

The statement is logical enough. And I'm sure there are some niches where that could still hold true. I don't believe that association marketing is one of those niches.

My biggest objection to Quelch's quote is the word "advertising." The word implies a push strategy akin to shouting through a megaphone. Even thoughtful and well targeted shouting is getting drowned out these days.

On the other hand, I agree there is a big opportunity for associations who continue aggressively marketing during this recession. And by marketing, I mean focusing on creating the most amazing product for the people in your community, and then getting the word out without needing the megaphone, because everyone needs and wants what you are providing.

Deirdre Reid said...

If brands (and associations) provide content of value during a recession,then they are likely to increase their market share. I agree with Lindy, this shouldn't be done only by "shouting through a megaphone" or using salesy pitches, but rather by teaching and offering content that your prospects (and members) can use.

Establish a relationship where you become a trusted resource and you won't have to use clever advertising copy to lure them in.

Kevin said...

We're marketing like crazy, and shouting through all kinds of different megaphones, and our market share is growing significantly and steadily -- in fact, faster membership growth in FY09 than we had in FY08. So I'm afraid that based on real world experience, I have to disagree with the other comments on this one.

I find that some people like to pooh-pooh marketing and prefer to talk about higher-sounding things like "strategy" because it's a lot easier to talk about things like "strategy" than it is to actually create and sell something.

Tony Rossell said...

Thanks for the great comments. Let me ask a follow up question. If “push” marketing does not work with associations, then why when I send out a new member mailing do I get hundreds of paid responses that I can track back to the promotion and in when I stop sending out promotions the new member count for the month falls off precipitously?

Scott Oser said...

I am a firm believer that you need to do a mixture of push and pull marketing to succeed. Even if you have the greatest products, services or community in the world you still need to regularly let people know what you offer and how they can get/access it. The Field of Dreams based "If You Build It They Will Come" theory has never worked for me and I have heard of many associations that have tried it.

In some ways I think that all marketing has some megaphone-like aspects to it. People write articles in publications, tweet, post, update, speak, advertise, email, do direct mail campaigns, etc. so that more and more people will hear about the benefits they provide and hopefully contact them to learn more about it. The key for associations, any organizations for that matter, is to have the right products and services and messages, make sure to aim their megaphone at the right audience and have lots of ways for the right audience to find out how you can benefit them when they come looking for you.

Tony Rossell said...

Kevin -- Well said. A colleague of mine who will remain nameless is know to say, "Stop talking and go out and sell something!"

Scott -- Thanks for the comment. The wonderful opportunity that we have today is that we can track and measure what message, product, and method actually results in a contact or a sale. We should not be pouring marketing dollars into the great unknown.