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How to stay optimistic about 2009

How to stay optimistic about 2009

By Mark Roy, chief executive of The REaD Group

Is this a downturn I see before me? You may ask, but here is some helpful advice for marketers hitchhiking through the current recession.

During both the 1987 stock market crash and the recession of the early-nineties, there were copious amounts of hand-wringing and generous dollops of market gloom. But neither saw the end of capitalism or business life as we know it.

Call me perverse, but I’m quietly optimistic about 2009. Surely, contrary to what our illustrious Chancellor would have us believe, we are at best unlikely to see a return to positive GDP territory until Q4 this year or Q1 of 2010.

However, better times are certainly ahead – shimmering on the horizon and most definitely within reach.

Here are some of my suggested Do’s and Don’ts that I hope can hold us all in good stead over the months ahead:


- Tend to the fabled four P’s - price, place, promotion and product – as surviving (nay, even flourishing) in a downturn is all about revisiting your business fundamentals

- Run a tight and ‘green’ ship (your bottom line and the environment will both thank you)

- Focus on client retention (it costs between three- and ten-times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one)
Keep your client data clean, up-to-date and secure (the Information Commissioner is watching, people!)

- Put customers first (emphasising the additional value your goods or services create that will nearly always give you a winning edge)

- Give rewards (be they small or large) to yourself, staff and clients for their loyalty. Your gratitude will be remembered long after this credit crunch is but a distant memory.


- Shy away from direct marketing and marcoms (why slash budgets when focussing on finding the right combination of channels can better maximise both your response rates and ROI?)

- Spend what you don’t have (cash is always your best business friend)

- Retreat from investing (some very good companies may soon be going cheap)

- Be afraid of change (it’s the management thereof that’s key)

- Forget that we’re all – each and every UK business owner – in this together.

According to Chinese Astrology, this is the Year of the Ox, so being strong, patient and tireless will indeed be virtues over the next twelve months. If your business planning and product/service delivery are sound, then in spite of the current monetary malaise, profit can still be ours for the making.

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