Small Business Week (Oct 16-22, 2016) is an exciting time for entrepreneurs with great events across Canada offering small business owners multiple opportunities to learn and connect. One of the many events that I attended, organized by Business Link, was named: “Ignite Small Business Week YEG: Marketing in this Economy!?”

The highlight of the event was to hear Randy Brososky from Group of Rogues speak about how companies should market themselves during a period of weaker economic growth. I have heard Randy speak before and I knew that he would bring great knowledge to business owners to help them grow their business. 

Solve a Problem

When you are looking to market your company and its offering, remember: “To a fish, the universe is water.” In terms of your company, you truly have to look at yourself from the viewpoint of your customer. What problem(s) are you solving? Are you making the purchasing process logical or emotional? Are you tying these items together to make it easier for your customer to choose you?

What Are You Really Selling?

Rolls-Royce is well known for selling cars but they also make jet engines. They understand from the viewpoint of their end customer—the more time that a jet can be in the air, the more money airlines make. With that in mind, Rolls-Royce does not “sell” a jet engine; they sell time in the air. They repair their engines for free. The only time that Rolls-Royce charge for their engines is when that engine is flying in the air.

Five Tips for Marketing During a Slow Economy

Here’s what marketing guru Randy Brososky shared at the event:

1. Customer Connection

Stay in touch with your customer but don’t sell to them. By keeping that connection open, when the economy starts to swing upwards, your customer will remember you and go to you first.

2. Shift Happens

People shift their spending habits as times change, but are you shifting along with them? 10 years ago, Tim Horton’s coffee could only be bought within their locations. With the shift to home brewing and Keurig cups, Tim Horton’s coffee can now be purchased in grocery stores (or in their locations) in grounded bean format or within Keurig cups.

3. Smart Discounts

Offer 2 for 1 deals, but the deal is only activated after you have involved your customer. For your customer to get a 2 for 1 deal, have them bring a friend. You can also have your customers become brand ambassadors—offer them discounts when they speak to their community about you.

4. Beat the Fear

Ask your customer what is holding them back from purchasing from you. Hyundai accepted vehicle returns if their customers lost their job during the recession of 2008. They gained market share and saw positive sales growth while other car manufacturers were going bankrupt.

5. New Value Offering

Look at how you can make your customer feel like the centre of the universe. Can you offer a lower cost item to your customer but still solve their problem and fulfill the same emotional desire? Can you sell what you are offering in a different fashion?

Even with a slower economy, companies still do want to increase their top line. At the very least, you can set yourself up for success during the upcoming growth phase by staying in touch with your customer, talking about the value you create, and tapping into your customers’ emotion.

Looking for some ideas to keep your customers engaged? Send me an email at