Thursday, May 29, 2008

Economic Downturn Got You Worried?

Are we in a recession or not? There are varying opinions on just what state our economy is in right now. I am not convinced it is a full blown recession. However, I do know that in the hospitality industry things are definitely slowing down, largely in leisure business. Why? The answer is simple. . . the rising cost of fuel translates in to increased costs for just about every consumer product we purchase, from food to clothing. What's left for most families isn't much. So everyone wants to stretch their dollar right now. Some are taking the wait and see approach.

Right now everyone from grocery stores to us in the travel industry have their hands out trying to get a piece of the "economic stimulus" checks that tax paying families are receiving, but this is short sighted. We need to think long term in the current economy. The immediate reaction for most operators is to start cutting costs to achieve budgeted flow through. This strategy is very shortsighted. Instead, I think we should be looking to invest more, smarter. This article from Guy Maser in iMedia connection gives 7 Strategies for Marketing in a Downturn.

Most of these things we should already be doing. That is why we have taken such a big move into online marketing. We get that are messages need to be targeted and we need measurable results. One item that Guy talks about is seeking assistance from our media partners. What can they do to help us achieve our goals? He suggests that we ask them some key questions:
  • Do they have your target audience's attention?
  • Can they keep your company visible to prospects and customers at all times?
  • Do they offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned with your goals?
  • Can they provide both visibility and lead generation?
  • Do they deliver targeted, quality leads with full contact information?
  • Do they provide reports you can use to measure the performance of your marketing and justify your marketing investments?
This is smart business. It is important for us to understand the full offering that our media partners bring to the table. I think we should constantly be pushing them for improvements and results. We shouldn't be afraid to pull out of a partner that isn't giving us the results we need.

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