Open for business signs hang in storefront windows around Quesnel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, June 29 2020. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Open for business signs hang in storefront windows around Quesnel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, June 29 2020. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

It’s Your Business: Challenging times create opportunities

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

During recessionary times businesses find themselves in uncharted waters. This is especially true these days as the world has not experienced challenges brought on by a pandemic in over 100 years.

However, surveys based on previous recessionary periods have shown that the businesses that weathered the storm better than others all had one thing in common: they focused on improving their marketing efforts rather than simply cutting back.

This does not mean that you have to spend more money. What it does mean is that you have to spend a little more time ensuring your marketing strategy is working to meet these challenges and then seize the opportunities that challenging times bring.

What are these challenges? They are not any different today than they were during the last crisis and are not likely to change for decades to come because they highlight the basic principles of marketing that are at the core of your business.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is to be able to look at your strategies with a critical eye and look for specific opportunities and options that will generate the best results. If you are prepared to spend the time, here are few tips that will help make the process easier.

First of all, identify and get to really know who your target customers are. Position yourself as the best choice for your product or service as it relates to them. Choose the right communications mix that your target group is most likely to use. Make sure you are developing a strong relationship with your current customers.

Remember: people do not always buy based on price. They base decisions on satisfying a need that suits their lifestyle and their needs today. Buying your product or service is based on achieving that goal.

This leads to positioning in the marketplace. By taking a critical look at who you are in relation to your competition you can then develop a strategy that will set you apart.

Take a realistic approach to your analysis. You are not going to appeal to everyone, even if you have a product or service that everyone uses. If that were the case then there would only be one car dealer, one grocery store, one coffee shop, or one hardware store.

While the opportunities are there to be able to deal directly with your customer, you need to be aware of what you are saying in each message that you are sending out. Remember each message, while tailored to speak to specific customers, must also be consistent with who you are, what you do and how you will satisfy a need.

While times may be tough, they do afford every business with the opportunity to rethink, refocus, embrace change and seek out opportunities that can open the doors to success.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email joesmith@shaw.ca

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