National Clothesline
Continuing to market during a downturn can wear you down, but it is the only thing that can
keep you afloat.
We can learn from history — not
everyone went under during the
Great Depression. There are
opportunities; you just have to be
alert and aware so you can take
advantage of them.
David Chase wrote a great article
about our economic history during
the Great Depression. He cited three
corporations that are still here today
and what they did during those times.
• Procter & Gamble. To this day, P&G maintains a philosophy of not reducing advertising
budgets during times of recession.
Chevrolet. During the 1920s, Fords were outselling Chevrolets by 10 to 1.
Camel Cigarettes. In 1920, Camel was the top-selling tobacco product.
The companies above had products across the spectrum from essential consumables to
deferrable purchases to non-essential products.
“Procter and Gamble represents essential consumables, Chevrolet represents deferrable
purchases, and Camel represents non-essential products.
“As you can see, the so-called hierarchy of necessity and want was sidestepped by those who
had the marketing chutzpah to ignore such distinctions,” Chase wrote.
These companies were in for the long haul and they took marketing actions to ensure
longevity. You do not need to spend 10 times more, but you do need to ramp up the engines to
thrive in this economy by looking out for opportunities, striking synergistic relationships and
launching new products.
Don’t just survive — that has a connotation of barely making it. You have to thrive.
There are thousands of businesses that are virtually unaffected by the current economic
status because they continue to promote.
According to American Business Media, history has shown that companies who either steadily
continued or aggressively increased their advertising efforts during times of economic
uncertainty experienced an overall growth of their business at the expense of the competition.
The companies that focused on advertising also experienced continued growth beyond the
period of economic uncertainty.
This is a great time to capitalize on your competition. Advertising aggressively in an economic
downturn can increase sales and market share over your competition. It can provide buyers with
a sense of stability about your company and can give you an opportunity to dominate an
advertising medium.
Here are some actions you can do to expand despite the doom and gloom:
Market like crazy. Pick up the customers your competitors will lose by cutting their
marketing budgets.
Make better use of your own database. Marketing for new customers is expensive, but
marketing to your existing customers has a higher return on investment.
Step up your marketing to your existing customer base. It’s great to get new
customers, but marketing directly to your database can increase your sales for a fraction of the
cost it takes to get a new customer.
Don’t “agree.” Don’t buy into the fact that you can’t control your business’s outcome.
Stop messing around. Quit doing defeatist-type actions that keep you in the mud… like
saying “it’s no use anyway,” or not doing everything you can possibly do to improve your
Make sure your customer service is at its all time high by solidifying your core
 Fire your slacking counter staff and make sure the rest of your team is on the
bandwagon to beat the slump. People buy from other people. If your customer service is poor, it
won’t matter how great your cleaning is.
Cut out waste. If you improve your tracking methods you can get more out of your
marketing dollars.
Get the most detailed data you can. If you don’t know how to interpret it, have a
professional team like ours help you out. The more precise you get, the higher the return on
investment you will get because you will know what channels are getting you a higher ROI. Then
you can ditch, or at least lower, the others. Modernizing your marketing will help you stay afloat
during any recession.
Direct marketing is here to stay. You need to make sure that when you advertise, you can see
results. Sometimes you will need to make adjustments but that is better than not knowing if or
how your direct mail advertising worked.

Neil Schroeder has been
in the marketing industry
for the past 15 years. He
is president and creative
director of the Golomb
Group, developing direct
response, social media,
in-house promotions and
web site campaigns for
drycleaners throughout
the nation. He can be
reached by phone at
(800) 833-0560, by
email at
or on the web at
Just getting by is not good enough