During recessions, priorities change. (Photo: ShutterStock)
The decline in consumption, the piggyback price increases, and the increase in interest rates are closing and narrowing the burden on small and medium-sized businesses in Israel. With no other choice, the self-employed gather to inspect an emergency house and check if there are layers of fat in the business that can be cut. Almost reflexively, marketing a business can be perceived during stressful times as something you can give up in difficult times. Luxury.
In my opinion, as someone who has headed a business without partners for 27 years, specializing in marketing, PR and branding, such a decision is tantamount to a death sentence for the business.
In the early stages after the cut, businesses don't immediately see that they have actually sealed the fate of the business, so they continue to pay for production and believe that the audience will come. By the time they realize that the decision to cut back on marketing was wrong, it may be too late.
It is precisely in difficult times that you need to invest more in marketing, and not twice as much, but four times as much, even if it is difficult and even if it is an expense out of nothing. This is an expense that will get you out of the crisis. Experts estimate that the peak of the economic crisis is yet to come, so it is impossible to lower our heads and wait for it to pass. Therefore, it is recommended to act now.
Marketing solutions don't have to be expensive
Investing in marketing doesn't necessarily involve actions that cost money. You can do a wide variety of actions that are defined as marketing and help you stand out. The bottom line is to initiate, to initiate and again and again to initiate.
Precisely when it is difficult, it is recommended to go out more from home, meet colleagues and acquaintances, and think together about the situation. draft inquiries to those who have an affinity for your field and target audiences, renew connections and think about profitable collaborations; Think about making smart use of resources you already have and strengthen your business's digital assets that introduce you to the world.
The COVID-19 period, for example, did paralyze and destroy many businesses around the world, but quite a few organizations and companies also took advantage of the opportunity presented by the crisis, survived and became more efficient as a result. All thinking about work spaces has changed, jobs have become hybrid, and technological processes have accelerated tremendously in a short time, such as Zoom meetings that today replace many physical meetings and save time and travel.
Challenges require new thinking
Yael Lotan (Photo: Reuven Kapuchinsky)
At one point, I was lucky – after years of spending heavily on renting offices in Tel Aviv, I decided to move to a co-working space, with a flexible contract, just two months before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, thus sparing me a rigid, expensive and problematic annual lease, which would have complicated me during a period of global paralysis.
At the same time, the number of customers has changed. There were companies that cut spending on marketing, advertising and public relations and we had to reevaluate. At first, we apologized and cut the rates for our suppliers in half – designers, market researchers, directors, screenwriters and more. Everyone chose to stay with us even at the reduced rate, except for one provider who left.
We decided that we would try to get through the uncertain period together, as a guerrilla team adapting to the new situation. At the same time, I also lowered the prices of our services and launched a broad advertising campaign that tells business owners that depending on the situation, we offer our PR, branding and digital services, at reduced and accessible rates.
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Solidarity is good for all sides
In normal times, the cost of a branding, PR and creative team can be high for small and medium-sized businesses. In the current crisis period, when we are again lowering prices due to the situation, the possibility of adding a creative team to the business that strengthens marketing thinking and action, for a short and significant period of six months, is more accessible and possible than ever.
When we, as a marketing agency, change our price list, in light of the economic slowdown, there is a benefit for both sides. We are increasing the number of businesses we are exposed to and the businesses are given an arm that promotes them. Solidarity pays off for both sides.
Our move met a real need in the market. From all over the country, business owners stuck with goods approached us looking for new and improved ways to reach their buyers and new audiences.
The Olive Industry Council, for example, was unable to export its regular shipments abroad and turned to us to help it create new connections with olive oil consumers in Israel. We created a creative and human video for them. The farmers who work with the Olive Tree Council took pictures from the olive groves in the area, explained the situation, and encouraged the public to buy fresh produce from them in order to keep their work alive. The campaign we created also included a personal gift that each olive grower sent to the consumer - a drawing and a blessing from the heart, prepared by the farmers' children or grandchildren.
But videos and paid promotion on search engines and social media aren't the only way to reach new audiences. Thinking together with an experienced marketing team can open up more channels of thinking and action and adapt the business to the changing times.
Creativity as a growth engine
The resilience of a business is tested, among other things, by its creativity and flexibility. Necessity is the father of invention and challenging situations force us to behave differently in order to find new and fascinating solutions. Did you know, for example, that quite a few prosperous global companies were actually created against the background of an economic crisis?
Uber, for example, grew against the backdrop of the subprime interest crisis in the US, turning an entire population of people looking for additional income into those who created a new transportation solution, and integrated into the transportation and small transport market.
Similarly, AirBnB has changed the world of tourism. In 2008, the year of the global financial crisis, it provided a solution for homeowners who were unable to rent or those who wanted to make a profit from their own home for short periods, as well as for tourists who were happy for an authentic solution that is usually cheaper than monotonous and formal hotel rooms.
Recession changes consumer behavior and creates new needs. Businesses that adapt to the new situation and be creative, can definitely come out of the difficult situation, in new clothing and with new audiences.
Yael Lotan is the owner and chairman of Lotan, a PR-branding-digital company, and the founder of a PR war room
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