Recession or Not, Here’s a True (good) Story

In the late spring/early summer of 2008 a B2B client hired my firm, Johnson Direct LLC, to undertake a comprehensive marketing audit that included primary and secondary research, customer analytics, a short and long-term marketing plan and recommended tactics to achieve strategic goals that we helped establish. The beginning of my Direct Branding process. Pretty straight-forward marketing stuff, albeit comprehensive and a bit complicated, time consuming and a decent investment.

My team went to work, got good and dirty, visited trade shows, talked to editors and reporters, interviewed experts, reviewed market segments and opportunities, did a competitive marketing audit, complete with positioning in each segment, met and talked with the sales reps, and combed the internet for materials.

This process took a good six to seven months to complete.

As the process unfolded, the economy got worse, then terrible and then horrific. I was sure the client was going to abandon the recommended tactics of the plan, which began with advertising once the new identity, re-positioning and re-branding were completed.

I was wrong.

The company president had the foresight to move forward and put his faith in my team’s comprehensive research and plan. I am sure glad he did. And, so is he? How can I be so sure?

After the first ad ran, they secured a very large sale (large enough to pay for the ENTIRE audit and advertising/marketing budget for the year). Because they tele-qualify leads, they talked to a prospect who had written the company off and was all set to purchase from a competitor. Then, he saw the new ad, did some more research, called in the sale rep and the sale commenced.

This is a true story. It’s NOT about me, my firm or our process. It’s about doing your homework and knowing that marketing, when done correctly and measured STILL works, even in this lousy economy.

Don’t dismiss this as dumb luck. Now is the perfect time to market. Afterall, your competitors are likely withdrawing. Another client just achieved a 14.3% response rate and another grew nearly 60% last year and anticipates larger growth in 2009.

Does this success come easy? Heck no. It’s a lot of work. The payoff, however, going to market with the knowledge that you understand your customers/prospects, your position in the marketplace, as well as your competitors and what differentiates you allows you to enter with a higher degree of confidence. Then there’s testing to minimize your exposure, but this post is long already.

Go for it! Market intelligently and market away. You’ll gain market share and you’ll be growing while your competition is huddled under their blankets, afraid that success will remain elusive. I know you’ll prove them wrong.

Grant A. Johnson
Johnson Direct LLC


About johnsondirect

A prominent measurable marketing strategist and nationally recognized thought leader, Grant serves as president and chief marketing officer for Johnson Direct, a measurable marketing communications and direct branding™ counseling firm that employs multi-channel marketing strategies that are testable and accountable. He is also a sought-after public speaker, marketing trainer, award-winning author, copywriter, and consultant.
This entry was posted in eMarketing, Johnson Direct, Marketing that's measurable, Observations, Public Relations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Recession or Not, Here’s a True (good) Story

  1. Shannon Krause says:

    Business doesn’t stop in a bad economy. A bad economy just separates the wheat from the chaff. Nice work…

  2. Jodie Lane says:

    I like to use the Warren Buffet analogy (since I’m a financial planner), that goes something like this…

    All boats will float during a high tide (good economic times), but once the tide recedes (our current economic situation), we get to see who has been swimming naked.

    In other words, all the mediocre companies out there (or in my business, all the mediocre financial planners) who easily looked good during good economic times, now are cutting back their talented workforce.

    I think this analogy rings true in your example about those companies with the foresite to overlook the current low tide and are willing to invest in the future (expose themselves); because they are the strong swimmers.

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