“When times are good, you should advertise; when times are bad, you MUST advertise.”

Wise words there from American Business Media. And naturally enough, ABM recommends companies should increase their ad spend with trade mags. Sensible stuff, especially in a downturn. And at a recent B2B sales conference, UK publishing industry bigwigs stressed the increasing relevance and cost-effectiveness of advertising in business magazines. And, for IBDs, there's similar advice from Randy Kirk...
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Speaking at the Periodical Publisher’s Association B2B sales conference in London on 4th December, managing director of Carat Business, Alex Altman, said: "We love B2B magazines. Business magazines always excel whatever metric you look at."

In a confusing sea of consumer magazines, zeroing in on a trade magazine makes sense.

"Business magazines are targeted at a sharply defined group of people who we can get to know very closely. The magazine builds a brand, a brand the readers trust, a brand that can influence the readers," said Computer Weekly editor Karl Schneider at the B2B conference.

Haymarket editorial director, Dominic Mills, called the business magazine "One of the most precise tools you can get in the marketing toolbox."

He said: "Business magazines serve up the stuff that makes a difference to readers’ everyday lives. They give them the info they know they need.”

And to ram the message home, delegates were told of US research that confirms the old adage: to accumulate, you’ve got to speculate.

“History has proven companies that maintain or increase their advertising investments in periods of economic downturns, increase their sales and share of market, both during and after the downturn,” reports ‘The Value Of Advertising During An Economic Downturn’, a publication by trade org American Business Media.

“If a company fails to maintain its ‘Share of Mind’ during an economic downturn, current and future sales are jeopardized. Maintaining ‘Share of Mind’ costs much less than rebuilding it later on,” says the ABM report.

“Maintaining a company's advertising during an economic downturn will give the image of corporate stability within a chaotic business environment, and give the advertiser the chance to dominate the advertising media.”

The US Strategic Planning Institute agrees: “Economic downturns reward the aggressive advertiser and penalize the timid one.”

Similarly, a report from Coopers & Lybrand, says:

“During an economic downturn, a strong advertising/marketing effort enables a firm to solidify its customer base, take business away from less aggressive competitors, and position itself for future growth during the recovery.”

And, from Harvard Business Review, there’s this nugget of gold:

“Advertising in an economic downturn should be regarded not as a drain on profits, but as a contributor to profits.”

Of course, whilst all of the above is music to our ears - and should be followed to the letter by prospective advertisers in our fine journal! – it’s also advice that can be modified for IBDs. Retailing experts such as Randy Kirk – author of ‘Bicycle retailers guide to getting rich in a recession’ - recommend all sorts of belt-tightening measures but Kirk also advises IBDs to upgrade their marketing during a downtown, not downgrade it.

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