An advertiser recently canceled his schedule because his biggest competitor did. For years, his company’s rationale for budgeting for an ad campaign was to be present when competition was. When the competition left, so did they.

After many discussions, I kept the advertiser but I had to rerationalize the buy. They soon realized that with their competition cutting back they could achieve a "share of voice" advantage by continuing to advertise.

The reasons companies advertise in a recession are often different than in good times. Sometimes I get surprised. I think I know an account and what makes them tick, then along comes a recession, and I have to get to know them all over again.

The key question to ask is, "How is your company responding to the recession?"

Are they:

  • Eliminating products that are marginally profitable?
  • Coming out with cost-effective versions of existing products?
  • Trying to offer larger packages to consolidated buyers?
  • Introducing new or different products?
  • Offering more cost-effective support over the Internet?
  • Cutting back their dealer network?
  • Whatever the strategy is, get your advertiser to talk about it.

Then show how advertising can help them communicate these moves to customers. Once done you are on your way to making a sale that is driven forward by the recession, not eliminated by it.

P.S. I’ll be in Chicago on Sept. 22 giving a talk about selling through a recession at the FOLIO: Show.