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In a recession, keep moving forward

Our greatest challenges can be our greatest teachers--and harbor the most significant opportunities for growth.

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They change our thinking, behaviors, strategies, actions, and reinforce our foundation for future growth.

Companies negatively impacted by a recession often fail to see the grander purpose such times can offer them. Instead, they envision the worst, react out of fear, and embrace a victim mentality. Most of these companies go on the defensive—cutting back costs, downsizing marketing efforts, and eliminating new product development efforts in a misguided effort to survive.

On the other hand, great companies/market leaders—see recessions as opportunities to do more than just survive—to grow. They position themselves to win by ramping up promotions, accelerating new product introductions, and increasing their marketplace visibility. By capitalizing on emerging opportunities, [these companies] not only differentiate themselves during the downturn, but also position themselves for explosive growth after the inevitable turnaround.

And while their competitors are retrenching, they take advantage of [available] advertising and marketing space to get their message through. For these companies, recessions motivate them to reassess their direction, and take action in new and creative ways. Their rise to the position of market leadership is often a byproduct of their beliefs, attitudes, and responses to such challenging times.

Whether your company fails, survives, or thrives during a recession is largely within [the company's] control. It controls how it perceives [the recession], how it responds to it, and how it learns and grows from it. If seen in the right light, an economic downturn can be a blessing. Here are some steps to take:

Assess your competition. If they are cutting marketing expenditures, isolate specific areas where they are leaving themselves vulnerable.
Increase customer contact. Communicate your capabilities and fundamental strengths. Differentiate your company from competitors that are becoming invisible.
Identify new markets . Perhaps some you've bypassed before due to competitive strength or high cost of entry. The economics may have changed dramatically.
Target product development efforts at competitive strongholds. Knock their legs out from under them while it's relatively inexpensive to do so.

Article written by Charlie Marshall, Priority Metrics Group, Inc., and used with permission from Priority Metrics Group, Inc., a professional marketing consulting firm that provides customized analytical and consultation services. PMG has particular experience and expertise in packaging, distribution, and textiles.
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