Marketers: It’s Time To Get Off The Dime

by | Aug 3, 2010

It’s been a tough 18-plus months for everyone in this channel, contractors, distributors and manufacturers alike. But manufacturers who pulled back their advertising and promotion budgets back then and haven’t restarted them, may be in for some surprises.

Tradesmen are still buying stuff. It may not be at 2008 levels, but not all contractors are sitting back at the office waiting for their phone to ring. And guess what? Americans have a short memory span, and if they haven’t seen or heard from you in a while, they tend to forget you exist.

They’re buying product, question is, it yours or your competitors? There’s a lesson to be learned here from history, and I’d like to share with you a conversation I had recently with someone in the industry.

I recently spoke with an editor from a key publication in the tradesmen market. While this was not the purpose of the call, the conversation naturally led to the topic that has been on all of our minds for the past couple of years – the economy. In discussing where we think the economy is going and how manufacturers that serve the tradesmen should react with their marketing and advertising as a result of the economic downturn, an interesting tidbit came out of this editor.

He mentioned that he has archives of his magazine that date back to 1920, before the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. He has clawed through these issues and found it fascinating that the companies that kept advertising throughout the great depression are still around today – in some form or fashion. By that I mean they either got acquired or are still in business today under the same name that they operated under in the 1920s. Some of these companies are very well known brand names today in the tradesmen industry – companies like Kohler, Haws, Price-Pfister Brass Mfg. Co., Rheem and Crane.

The lesson from this is pretty clear – advertising throughout a down economy can help your business survive, and even thrive in some cases. These companies kept their marketing spend up and as a result, made it through the crisis. Companies that did not, for the most part, ended up closing their doors.

This can be likened to the old Wall Street saying “buy low, sell high” in that a down economy can be viewed as an opportunity instead of something to dread. When your competitors remove themselves from advertising and their target’s eye, it is an opportunity for you to stay front of mind, and to steal market share. And you better believe that if you are a market leader, that your share is threatened if you do not spend the money on marketing and advertising.

While we are seeing some light in this economy, if you haven’t already been advertising, you need to get your message out there and either defend your market share or steal market share from your competitors. Don’t become irrelevant.

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