Concepts for Success: Don’t Ever Stop Marketing!
By Diane Chiasson
Ways to help your bakery survive an economic downturn: Two easy tips to get ready after lockdown
By Diane Chiasson
When businesses face tough times, the first thing most businesses do is to stop marketing their operation. Many marketing experts, including myself, will tell you that cutting marketing costs is a disastrous business decision. Doing so will leave your brand in a less competitive position when the economy recovers. It has been proven repeatedly that cutting marketing and advertising during a downturn will delay recovery.
Many bakery owners behave the same way. Fearful of declining revenue, they will cut marketing, reduce prices and postpone new projects. It’s a normal reaction. However, I insist that marketing and website improvements are not the things that you should suspend. Budgeting for marketing and advertising is as necessary as your electrical bill or your payroll. Now is not the time to cut promoting, advertising, and marketing. Over the years, research studies have confirmed that the best strategy in terms of long-term return on investment is to either steadily continue or aggressively increase marketing spending during an economic downturn. In previous recessions, bakeries that continued to invest in marketing saw an overall growth in their businesses at the expense of the competition, while those that stopped their budgets saw a decrease in sales. You should always be marketing to new potential customers as well as marketing to your existing customers.
Below, are two simple tips in a two-part series on marketing your bakery during a slowdown.
Promotion or advertising?
You may think that these two words mean the same, but they are not the same thing. Advertising is a one-communication; it is something that you would do to promote your bakery business, products, or services. Think of an ad in a magazine, TV or radio commercials, and website banners. Promotion includes all the particular activities and ways available that are intended to announce or promote your business, products, or services. Examples include team or league sponsorships, contests, events, coupons, social media, and direct mail. Promotion campaigns are often done to get the media to promote your message at no cost. Promotions usually don’t cost a lot of money the way advertising does, and you may want to do some daily promotions. Don’t forget to get involved in charitable events, whether by hosting or sponsoring an event, which will be a great way to create a positive attitude about your bakery in your community. The result in doing both, advertising and promotion, at the end is to create brand awareness, getting leads, and increase your sales.
If you suddenly decide to stop everything in terms of marketing, you will have to start over by building momentum from zero. If your customers haven’t heard from you in a while, you will have to work twice as hard to get their loyalty back. If I may give you a piece of advice, rather than suddenly stopping your marketing efforts, you are better off maintaining or even increasing your efforts to make sure that you are in a position of strength when this economic downturn passes. Remember that increased spending in marketing and advertising during a downturn will pay off exponentially in the months and years to come. I certainly believe that you should keep marketing during an economic downturn, especially if your competitors aren’t!
1. Analyze and track everything right away
It’s important that you spend your marketing budget wisely. You need to know how much you can spend. You also need to have a strategy on how to spend it, where to spend it and what you want to achieve. It’s also very important to understand that any purchases depend on consumers’ having disposable income, feeling self-assured about their future, and trusting in business and the economy. You should definitely analyze your POS data for food cost savings. Check which menu items you can temporarily eliminate (products ordered less frequently) and which products your most loyal guests tend to buy. What can you offer right now that no one else can? Can you think of some creative and unique ways that you can help your customers?
2. Focus on existing customers and care about new ones
Your bakery brand’s biggest asset during an economic downturn will be your existing customer base. Your marketing strategies should focus on your most valuable and loyal customers. Happy customers will always help you back by recommending your bakery and make reviews on social media platforms. The importance of honest communication with your customers cannot be overstated. Find out what kind of customers come to your bakery, get to know them better, and find out what they want. You may consider asking each customer what they would like to buy would be a good strategy. Develop meaningful relationships with your existing customers, and most particularly with your new customers. Customers appreciate bakeries that care about their experience and make them feel welcome.