As the economy begins to recover – with recent improvements in small business lending and private sector hiring – many experts, such as Inc. magazine contributor John Warrillow, advise small businesses to invest in sales and marketing, instead of new hires.
Recent studies have confirmed this, finding the majority of surveyed business owners plan on focusing on marketing this year. But what's marketing without good ideas?
Print campaigns in particular – be it direct mail or newspaper advertisements – offer a means for businesses to empathize with consumers. The recession has hit low- to mid-income households hard, and while this is something of a tragedy for most, small businesses can use this as a point of relation in their marketing initiatives.
This is called empathy marketing and can be particularly effective as the economy begins to improve. Consider including offers in your next direct mail campaign that specifically address consumers' tight budgets and provide them with services that are both affordable and useful in a rough economy.
"Look deep into the effect that your product or service has on individuals from all walks of life in various circumstances," writes Marla Tabaka in Inc. magazine. "How does it impact the economy, ecology and the future of your industry, society, the earth or whatever is applicable?"