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Keep Marketing in a Recession

When the economy tanks, businesses tighten their belts. They downsize staff, cancel all but essential purchases and eliminate frills.

Unfortunately, many companies consider marketing nonessential, so they stop advertising, promotions and media relations.

Not a good idea, experts say.

John Quelch, a former associate dean and a professor at the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, has said companies should seize troubled times as an opportunity to overtake their competitors who are cutting back. While their brands are hibernating, yours can seize the moment, he says. And you can still be frugal –  possibly negotiating lower rates from companies that place print and broadcast media. Recently, Quelch was appointed dean, vice president and Distinguished Professor of International Management at the China Europe International Business School

“Try to maintain the frequency of advertisements by shifting from 30-second to 15-second advertisements, substituting radio for television advertising, or increasing the use of direct marketing, which gives more immediate sales impact,” he suggests.

Another cost-efficient way to sustain quality marketing at a lower cost is to use an experienced freelancer. At Working Writers of Wisconsin, some members have years of marketing agency experience. We produce high quality marketing materials at a lower cost than most agencies, whose billing rates must factor in higher overhead and employee benefits.

According to a number of research companies, sales rose significantly during recessions among companies that continued to market their brands. During the early 1980s recession, McGraw-Hill research found that 600 companies that advertised aggressively throughout the recession had sales 256% higher than those who cut back. GB Nielsen data found that the worst performing brands during and after the downturn were those that slashed marketing.

Social media are another inexpensive way to market something. Working Writers members understand blogs, social networks, social bookmarking, and search engine optimization.

Let a Working Writers freelancer guide you through the recession.

Written by Barbara Abel (, an independent writer in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.


One Response to “Keep Marketing in a Recession”

  • Linda Presto:

    Marketing. It’s all about creativity.

    Wisconsin was in the throes of Super Bowl mania in January. It seemed like a good idea to send my best clients something so they could share in the fun.
    O&H, a well-known Racine bakery, had developed Frozen Tundra kringles (flaky pastry, cream cheese and dark chocolate filling, green and gold sprinkles) and that seemed to be “just right.”

    One New York publisher client said, “We used to have an editor from Racine, so we know all about kringle. This is the best we’ve ever had. Go, Packers!” Then he sent me Dick van Dyke’s memoirs to index. Another editor who happened to walk by his office stopped for a piece of kringle and loved it. He also sent me a book for indexing, White Lama, the history of Theos Bernard. Bernard was the first Westerner ever allowed into Tibet to research sacred Buddhist scriptures and learn Tantric Yoga. He disappeared in India during partition in 1937. Fascinating history.

    Another kringle wasn’t such a big hit. That editor said sadly, “Are you rubbing it in?” Seems he is a New England Patriots fan. (Someone had to remind me that the Patriots beat the Bears and the Packers during the season.) But he sent more indexing work, too.

    Those kringle were the best marketing dollars I have ever spent. Mardi Gras is March 8 and O&H Bakery has a combination kringle/king cake that has Mardi Gras written all over it. I sent a few of those to clients who missed out on Super Bowl mania. Here’s the link. You might find a kringle with shamrocks.

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