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Marketing in a Recession

0 March 2, 2019

Marketing Expense Management

Chris makes many great points about revenue generation. As marketing professionals, we’re also facing pressure on our expense budgets. Here are a few suggestions for getting the best possible cost of sale.

It’s a tough time for orchestras, but it’s also a tough time for marketing vendors. Make the most of your relationships with printers, mail houses and advertising representatives. When times get tough, business slows, and vendors have more time to spend with you. Brainstorm together, take advantage of vendor promotions, emphasize creativity, and strengthen your business relationships.

Printers and Mail Houses

Meet with your mail house rep, and ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck with your direct mail.

1) Check your mail/address panel. The USPS has strict guidelines for what the mail panel should look like. For example, if the bottom of the mail panel is covered with graphics, it might obscure an inkjetted bar code, resulting in a much higher postal rate.

2) Generally, nonprofit bulk mail can be larger and heavier and still have the same postage cost as a tiny postcard. Make sure you go over the size constraints with your mail house representative. You’ll have to get a good printing quote if you go bigger, but don’t forget to quote large quantity jobs with at least three different print vendors and be creative with paper stock and formats. And, remember, “gang printing” multiple projects at one time is always a good idea as long as you know your content is not likely to change.

Advertising Representatives

We often have annual “contracts” with our print and radio vendors. These are generally great, because they lock in rates for an entire year, and placement is guaranteed and reserved in advance. During a recession, however, radio stations and newspapers have a ton of unpurchased inventory, and most of the time you can alter your “contract” without penalty. Check with your print reps on a regular basis to see if there are low priced “remnants” that you can take advantage of. You can save upwards of 50% off of contract rates. Likewise, see if your radio reps can offer no-cost promo spots as benefits to their listeners (e.g., “Visit WXYX.com for discounted VSO tickets!). You can also offer “media sponsorships,” so that your vendors receive marketing benefits, and you receive in-kind trade to bolster your efforts.

Your annual commitment with vendors gives you leverage! Take advantage of it, and get what you need to be successful. Remember, they want you to be successful, because it means you’ll continue investing with them.

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