It’s often tempting when business is booming to ease off your marketing efforts. The idea is that if everything is going great and you’re booked solid, what’s the point of continuing to advertise when your inventory is backordered or you’re booking appointments weeks or even months out?
Well, the simple answer is that your sudden feast can just as quickly become famine.
Without continuing to promote yourself, you’ll keep busy in the short term, but when the current rush clears, will you be starved for business? Let’s look at why it’s vital to keep up with marketing yourself even when things are booming.
The Short-Term Memory Problem
As Canada’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University notes, consumer memory tends toward the short term. It’s why most brand messaging needs to be repeated – and routinely – to be remembered and recalled by your audience. It’s why we remember notable brands long after seeing an ad. Think of the Nike swoosh and the slogan immediately comes to mind, or drive by a McDonald’s and catch yourself humming the “I’m lovin’ it” jingle. Other times you recall brands by their mascots, such as the Jolly Green Giant or the Geico gecko. All of these campaigns are long-lasting, persistent and memorable. But most small- and mid-sized campaigns need more consistency to stay fresh in the consumer’s mind.
Let’s think for a moment about headaches – not pain points in your marketing, but actual headaches. Are you thinking about one of the different pain relievers – Excedrin or Advil or Tylenol – or are you remembering HeadOn from its commercial campaign back in 2006? Odds are you’re recalling one of the former, and had completely forgotten about HeadOn. Think of that as a prime example of short-term memory in marketing.
There’s countless other examples of flash-in-the-pan marketing that surged for a moment and disappeared as quickly as they rose. Or even small, local and regional advertisements that you may remember for a few hours or days. But once the ads stop, the calls and emails drop off in short order. That’s why keeping a marketing presence – even if it’s reduced – is critical to keeping a place in the memory of your consumer audience.
Leverage Booms for Future Success
When sales and appointments are up, it can be a hectic time for your business. You’re busy churning out orders and handling shipping or spending all day in the field, visiting customer locations and getting through your tall list of service requests. With all this work piling up, it can consume your time and make you forget about anything other than the job at hand. But this is also a time of opportunity.
Use the busy period as a chance to start growing the business further and increasing your ability to handle orders or service requests while maintaining – at least in some form – the marketing that helped make consumers aware of you in the first place. Start doing hiring and training for new employees that can help you fulfill orders and client requests – even if only on a part-time basis to start – which will help you not only more efficiently meet the expectations of your customers, but provide additional help for the future.
If customers want what you sell, but they can’t have it because your production line is limited or your ability to take appointments is backed up for weeks, they can quickly turn to another provider. Growing your staff helps keep clients happy, who then, in turn, are more likely to tell others of the positive experience of working with your business. This can provide additional word-of-mouth awareness and interest that leads to even more orders – and with that newly trained staff, you’ve increased your ability to keep up with further demand.
It’s Harder to Advertise Without Revenue
Another reason to keep marketing – on top of maintaining and growing your sales – is the simple financial truth that it’s much easier to promote your brand when business is booming. When you have a backlog of appointments or an order fulfillment list that’s growing by the hour, your coffers should be filling up at the same time. However, when the phone stops ringing or the website orders dry up, it can mean needing to tighten the belt, making it all that much harder to justify keeping your marketing budget. Ironically, though, that’s when you need marketing the most.
By choosing to instead maintain or even grow your marketing during busy periods, you can work to help prevent the crash, and stave off the same old ebb and flow of business that you typically experience. If your hot-selling items are backordered or if you’re currently unable to take appointments for weeks, you can use your marketing to lay that expectation and still keep business booming. Offer customers who order your goods free shipping as an enticement to place an order or a discount on other products you sell. For service companies, providing a discount to customers who can schedule a service call today for a month or more out can help keep your calendar full.
Whatever option you choose, it helps keep new orders flowing in, maintaining work for new employees (if you added more as discussed above), and providing a steady flow of revenue and requests into the future. This can be a particular benefit for companies that are more subject to seasonal swings in business, helping to keep work and sales coming in well into the off season.
It’s also important to keep in mind the short-term memory problem. It often takes several interactions with your brand before a consumer will keep you in mind. This is why we always tell our clients that we need to plan a television campaign to run for several weeks or a billboard campaign to be in place for a month or longer to really have an impact. Repetition is the key to memory – flash cards, anyone? – and if you stop repeating your message because you dropped your marketing when things were going well, it’s likely that that boom will dry up soon enough. Don’t expect that the busy rush will maintain itself – instead, use the busy good times to position yourself for even greater times ahead.
Make the Most from Your Marketing
Creating an annual marketing plan helps ensure that your marketing is ready to go even when you’re busy, and offers opportunities to adjust your strategy throughout the year to coincide with seasonal adjustments, unexpected changes or other needs that may arise. At JFG, we can help.
Our team can put together a marketing strategy for your business, working to meet your goals and your budget, and providing the flexibility you need to adapt – particularly needed during the ongoing pandemic. Let’s have a conversation and see how we can help you get the most from your marketing efforts. Call us today or drop us an email and let’s see how we can work together.
Bringing with him more than a decade of experience in traditional and online news media, digital marketing and content production experience, Ryan Yaeger is the copywriter and digital content strategist at J. Fitzgerald Group. When not busy wordsmithing at his proverbial word anvil or working on client SEO, you can find him testing new board games or cheering for the Bills or Sabres.