”John A. Quelch, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at
Again, here is Quelch’s list:
1. Research the customer
2. Focus on family values
3. Maintain marketing spending
4. Adjust product portfolios
5. Support distributors
6. Adjust pricing tactics
7. Stress market share
8. Emphasize core values
Adjust product portfolios by discontinuing poor performers, but also scour the marketplace for complementary products or services that can be acquired cheaply. Small firms may not have access to funding during today’s tight credit market and need to sell part of their product line or sell the business itself. Larger firms may be pruning their product portfolio as well and your lemonade business might leverage their lemons better than they can.
You—along with rivals—are reviewing your distributors and salespeople for effectiveness and dropping your weakest ones. But some of your competitors’ salespeople could be worth hiring and their distributors could be interested in offering another line of products during slowdowns.
This is also the time to recruit the best finance managers from peers. Why? Because controlling costs is key during times when buyers seek lower prices. You need to truly understand your cost structure to determine which products are truly profitable and which are really lost causes. Good finance managers can not only control costs, but also help analyze the most cost effective approach to spending. Ask them to assist you in figuring out your competitors’ cost structures to determine their likely reaction to your price moves and if they employ any best practices that you can adopt.
Plus a strong finance executive can manage the home front while the CEO visits customers, both your own and your rivals. The visits will help keep your customers from being stolen by competitors while initiating or deepening relationships with those who buy from others.
Many organizations prosper during recessions. Make sure that yours is one of them.
For more of Quelch’s observations on marketing, visit his blog at http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/quelch/.