During tough economic times, marketing efforts are often one of the first initiatives to get the corporate axe. While it's understandable to a degree, there are a host of reasons why you actually want to think about the PR and marketing you do in a tough climate -- even more so than when things are rosy.
There's an old adage about marketing that I like, which basically says "Go ahead, cut your marketing budget when things get tough. That's like saying I'll throw some logs on that fire when warms up in here."
While that saying sounds a bit self-serving when coming from a marketing or PR professional, there is a high degree of truth to it. After all, it's during times when it's tough to get clients that it's even more important for advisors to accentuate their value proposition and explain to current and prospective clients how they differ from the many others in their field.
There's a natural tendency to sort of "hunker down" and wait out the storm during tough economic times, which also effects marketing efforts to a degree. People feel there's not as much of a need to engage in a public relations campaign because no one's going to buy their services. In reality, however, even during times like these, 90 percent of the American labor force is working and everyone's doing the best they can to adhere to their long-term goals, which include things like saving for retirement or a child's education.
Given that, it's still vitally important to market during these times because advisors with a unique management philosophy or an impressive track record will find that it's much easier to stand out now than when things are rosy because the number of marketing-related messages the average person will receive in a given day will skyrocket once everyone is feeling the impact of the economy's improvement.
Finally, many advisors may be concerned about the overall reputation of the broader financial services industry and the impact that attitude may have on their marketing efforts. While it's true that the general populace has been quite confused about just what got us into this mess and who caused it, you don't have to serve as an apologist for the industry or any conceptions about it in your individual marketing program. There are a host of other professions, including legal and public relations itself, that routinely battle industry missteps and confusion over what they do. Successful marketing programs take into account the notion that one firm or individual isn't likely to change the perception of an industry; what they do accomplish, however, can include great things for individual firms.