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September 22 2019.
Marketing strategies for the coming recession.

Most of the organisations are facing imminent recession. Rising interest rates have put pressure on individual consumers forcing them to delay the buying decision. For organisations recession means, that they don't have sufficient quality enquiries OR Enquiry to order cycle is getting longer,OR Orders in hand don't' get billed/invoiced within reasonable time as they were earlier,OR Payments get delayed for already billed goods/services OR could be that recently installed product / service capacity is not fully utilised.

As a head of Sales - Marketing, here are four sales-marketing strategies you could deploy to survive this difficult period & come out stronger than ever. As most of the front-end sales-marketing personnel have not experienced recession, it is important that the seniors & 'C' level management need to explain & deploy these strategies.

1. Know more about customers' business processes.
Its time to reinvest in customer research. You need to know more than ever, how customers are redefining value & responding to the recession. Customers will take more time searching for value and will negotiate harder than ever. They are going to postpone purchases &/ or buy less. The must-have product features of yesterday will become today's luxuries. Identify customers' business processes & his pain areas where you can offer your experience & capability. Help him to outsource non-core activities.

2. Make smarter decisions on marketing spend.
This is not the time to cut advertising or exhibitions. Instead, make smart spending (investment) on these important publicity activities. E.g. Spend more on in-house seminars & demonstrations, targeting potential buyers. Conduct customised presentations / private exhibitions specific to the customer segment rather than having a template approach. Many sales professionals have experienced, at exhibitions your absence is felt more than your presence. Hence, invest in promotional activities which are more focused & give better results. Similarly, identify cross-selling opportunities.

3. Review product mix.
Look at your product mix, scope of supply, bill of material, of the product range you have been offering. Tough market conditions will demand multipurpose products over specialised products. May be you can think of offering up-gradation /refurbishment of present installations. Industrial customers would like to see products and services unbundled and priced separately. Gimmicks are out; reliability, durability, safety and performance are in. Look at your customer population & look afresh at that neglected after sales business opportunity. With smart internal focus (& may be restructuring), I am sure you can substantially improve the after sales business share of your total business.

4. Relook at the total cost of ownership.
Your customers are facing price & performance pressure from their customers. Think of different ways you can price your product / service. Customers may prefer to pay for performance instead of owning your product. Why not offer on rentals, or as in software industry, SaaS (software as a Service), BOO (Build-Own-Operate & charge for results) etc. Offer to own the asset in variable costs rather fixed cost.

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