The Economy & Marketing Today

The Economy & Marketing Today

A Candid Letter

Dear Colleague,

If this economy has you frightened you are not alone. Times are tougher today than in recent memory: prices are rising, stocks are falling, companies are cutting back and things seem dire. As someone who relies on marketing to help get the word out about your products and/or services, what’s the best approach?

An Enduring Message
Offer Testing
Precise Measurement
Decisive Action

I know, easy for me to say as I hope to earn some or more of your business. But the fact is I don’t want you to give me your business. I want to earn it. Even if you don’t contact me, please apply the courageous strategies and tactics above to your marketing … ASAP.

Now or Later; More or Less?

So, should you be marketing now, or later, less or more … or the same as last year? The answer is: it depends. What are the competitor factors for you, do you have a real advantage, what do your customers and prospects look like and how are they really affected by the economy and what are your goals? But, most importantly, will your marketing be cost effective?

I don’t know as we’ve yet to talk. What I do know and will share are some very recent results we’ve achieved in a less than stellar marketing economy:

  • A non-profit who garnered a 14.3% donation rate to an emergency appeal
  • A gourmet food client that saw their average order increase by 13%
  • The successful multichannel launch of a high-end continuity club, making them the fastest growing club in their segment
  • An insurance client who is getting a better than 5% buy rate for a high monthly premium product
  • A BtoB client that is opening new categories and has revenue growth of 58.7%
  • A new product launch where ROI was 11 to 1

What’s the secret?

“Marketing that’s measurable”. And testable. And that works hard by understanding client and prospects wants, needs, attitudes and behaviors.

Yes, the choice to pull back, increase or keep your marketing spend even is critical and needs to be based on your goals. Can marketing work for you today? Most definitely. Will you fail? I hope so, to a small extent, but not critically. You have to fail to learn and grow. The key is to apply what you discover to your next marketing program.

It’s easier to invest in marketing when things are going well, but it’s also harder to differentiate yourself. Where do you want to be next year? Perhaps we should talk?

Yours truly,

Grant A. Johnson

Grant A. Johnson
Johnson Direct
800.710.2750, ext. 131


  1. I agree that now is not the time to stop marketing. You just have to change your marketing techniques, perhaps. Word-of-mouth marketing always works well, and many (including myself), use it when times get tough because all it costs is time. I realize time is money, but time doesn’t cost nearly as much as a TV commercial! ;)

  2. Thanks for a needed post Grant. We are fellow direct marketers and get asked by clients what they should do differently in this economy.

    The answer is:
    If you were testing aggressively, do more. If your response rates are dropping, then pull back circulation. But then I realized that good marketing works in good times as well as bad.

    If you were undisciplined and not tracking sales or continually evaluating your programs, then you have no choice but to catch up quickly. Because a bad economy keeps no prisoners. It will destroy your business sooner.

    Now is the time to refine your metrics and mercilessly cut non performing marketing activities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>