Marketing Strategies for
Tough Economic Times

Financial Crisis

Did you know the entire cosmetics industry was born in the depths of The Great Depression? It’s true. Seems that offering ladies a little inexpensive luxury made the people who sold lipstick, rouge and eye makeup extremely wealthy.

Other products that provided entertainment value or any respite from the daily deluge of bad news did great, too.

So did products that helped people’s food money or gas money or health dollar go farther. Because even in the worst of times, people still have to eat and move around.

And anything that can help folks miss fewer days of work, be more productive or save money at the doctor’s office or drug store is a god-send.

Plus of course, things that helped them find work, add an extra stream of income, or start their own depression-sensitive business did well too.

Thanks to regulatory safeguards, we’ll likely not sink into an actual depression this time. But people are still scared, and fear causes the wallet to clamp shut for many things (but not all… and that’s the key).

As a business owner or freelance copywriter, it’s no time to be scared. It’s time to explore the opportunities that are out there waiting for you and your clients.

So how do you find them?

I’ll be attending a free webinar tomorrow put on by ace copywriter Clayton Makepeace that covers this very subject. Sorry for the short notice, but I just found out about this myself.

UPDATE: The webinar is over, but a recording is available here at no charge. Check it out.

The webinar is free, it takes only seconds to register, and Clayton promises you’ll come away with a ton of ideas you can use to make more money in less time than you may now believe possible — no matter how bad this economy gets.

Again, this live webinar (plus Q&A during the session) kicks off at 12 noon ET (9am Pacific) tomorrow, October 16, 2008. But you need to register today in order to attend.

About the Author: Brian Clark is the founding editor of Copyblogger, and co-founder of DIY Themes and Lateral Action. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (27)

  1. says

    It’s no time to curl up in a ball and hope for things to pass by. It’s time to lean in and ride some waves. There will be big winners at the end of this “crisis” but being a bystander will get us nowhere.

  2. says

    Opportunity and discipline are perhaps a couple of words to remember during these times.

    I have been thinking that those businesses that are not cost leaders will suffer more perhaps. What should you do if you are not a cost leader? That’s an open question for everyone.

  3. says

    It has always amazed me that when faced with an “economic slowdown” or “economic crisis”, many companies “downsize” or “lay-off” much of their marketing, sales, and writing teams. These are the very same folks who are the DIRECT CONTACT with their current and potential clients/customers.

    I’m a writer/editor, so I’ve been hit by this trend many times over the past 25+ years.

    What also amuses me is that when the companies finally come to their senses (or when their customers/clients start screaming for attention), the companies scramble to find NEW marketing, sales, and writing people.

    Yes, this brings “new blood” into the company. But it also slows things down and creates additional stress from the learning curve. The previous marketing, sales, and writing teams had a familiarity with the company’s services and products. The new teams must learn this quickly while at the same time accomplishing their tasks.

    I don’t know if being a “cost leader” will help. There’s always some knucklehead out there who will come up with something cheaper–to the point of going bankrupt (and dragging others into their sinkhole).

    Like Brian said of the cosmetic industry being born during the Great Depression. Offering a little “cheap” LUXURY when folks needed to “feel good about themselves” may be the ticket. You can create something cheaply, but with a high perceived value, such that folks will flock to it. Rather than competing on price, it may be better to compete on perceived value and BETTER SERVICE.

    Provide value to your existing customers/clients to keep them coming back, and also provide value in your marketing efforts to attract new customers. Show empathy toward your customers’ situations. They will appreciate it.

  4. says

    Computer hard drives have recovery programs on them in case of a crash or blip in its system. Companies fearing economic hardships during this time and in the future should have a back up plan just like those programs. There should always be some type of plan B when situations like this occur.

    Instead of having to come up with some new type of marketing ploy after the company is in danger of losing funds, these companies should already have its plan B set and in order so they will be the first ones to bounce back and be the ones most likely to stay financially stable.

  5. says

    My current kicking-my-ass business mentor likes to say that these are millionaire-making times, because there are a lot of problems out there to solve. I think that’s a great way to frame it.

  6. says

    Not only does this crisis have the potential to create millionaires out of individuals, it has the potential to make a company soar above the others if it is prepared for an economic plummet. If a company surpasses all other companies during times like these, then that company will not only succeed during the crisis, but will be in the consumers’ eyes as being successful. In the long run this will be very beneficial and will be ahead of the game.

    If companies think ahead and are prepared, they would not be running around like chickens with their heads chopped off like they are now.

  7. says

    Wow this crisis is really becoming real. I thought it would pass with time.
    I hope my young entrepreneurs blog will continue to grow despite this crisis

  8. says

    Mr. Schefren, Mr. Jenkins, and now you… I better sign up!

    P.S. I noticed Clayton’s using single opt-in for this, Brian. What’s your take on that? Maybe he’s using it because it’s short notice, or am I wrong to always use double opt-in?

  9. says

    Indeed, we need to be more creative during these times. As a copywriter or a businessperson, we should ask ourselves how we can provide better value to our clients. Recession can be an opportunity for increasing our profit, if we look at it that way. :)

  10. says

    I think it’s really interesting that the “entire cosmetics industry was born in the depths of The Great Depression,” I had no idea!

    I’ve been wondering recently how the recession will effect peoples eating habits, as you say Brian, we all need to eat. Also, what about health as a whole – gym memberships are costly, and then there’s health insurance and medication to think about?

    Anyway, webinar sounds great. Thanks!

  11. says

    There are great opportunities in this recession. If you’re a copywriter, for example, you could beat competition by sharing risk and profits from your project.

    Moreover, the best investments are often made during recession.

  12. says

    I have not participated in a recession during the 25 years of my adult life, and do not intend to start now. My business continues to grow each month, and I do not even have to sell cosmetics or movie tickets to do this. Thanks for the great post, Brian.

  13. says

    Wow this crisis is really becoming real. I thought it would pass with time.
    I hope my young entrepreneurs blog will continue to grow despite this crisis

  14. says

    “Don’t equate activity with efficiency. You are paying your key people to see the big picture. Don’t let them get bogged down in a lot of meaningless meetings and paper shuffling. Announce a Friday afternoon off once in a while. Cancel a Monday morning meeting or two. Tell the cast of characters you’d like them to spend the amount of time normally spent preparing for attending the meeting at their desks, simply thinking about an original idea.”— Harvey Mackay

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