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Marketing Matters: Marketing in Recessionary Times

By: Donna C. Barson
Posted: May 1, 2008, from the May 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

No, this isn’t a column about Chicken Little and her famous warning, although goodness knows the poor thing could use some positive press after being labeled an overanxious worry wart all these years.

Rather, this is all about strategies and tips for the poor marketer in these uncertain—dare I say “recessionary”—economic times. Anyone who pays attention to the news knows that the U.S. economy has been going through a rough patch recently. So how does a personal care marketer survive?

First, the good news: consumers will still use personal care products, even in bad economic times. No one has found evidence yet that people are stopping their use of moisturizers, eye cream, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc., no matter how bad things get. Growth in the category might slow, but no substantial declines are being forecast.

So, right off the bat you know that there is still a demand for your products out there. However, understand that consumers might trade down from higher-end, prestige products to less expensive products. The key to getting consumers to buy anything is product marketing. Far too often, marketing is the first thing cut by companies facing a tough economic landscape. This is a mistake. During a tough economy is when you have to do your best marketing. Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg Co., P&G and Kimberly-Clark are among those that have rededicated themselves to marketing even while implementing cost-cutting.