By: Julie Price

“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”Bill Gates

When the economy gets tough, the tough business leader knows it’s crucial to keep the company name and good reputation out there. For this reason, the boldly confident business tends to survive economic downturns, while the weak tend to flail and fold.

It’s a highly relevant point right now, with all the rumbling about a recession – about when and not if it will occur. Now is the time to consider how your business will weather the apparently inevitable economic storm on the horizon.

For reference, we need look back barely a decade, to the great recession of 2008, when thousands of businesses failed and tens of thousands of employees lost their jobs. It’s still fresh in our minds – helping to stoke the fears that, in the event of another recession, the same would happen again.

But if there’s a positive side to the recentness of the last downturn, it’s that there are still-relevant lessons to be learned – and an abiding one stands above the rest: Don’t stop marketing.

It’s standard sage advice that many businesses don’t heed – often to their great detriment. As author and marketing whiz Jay Lipe notes in his “10 Commandments of Marketing”: “Thou shalt not cut marketing spending during slow times.”

Lipe cites as an example a McGraw-Hill Research study that analyzed 600 companies and their marketing spending during an earlier downturn. The study “concluded that those firms that had maintained or increased their advertising during the recession … boasted an average sales growth of 275% over the next five years (while) those companies that cut their advertising saw paltry sales growth over the next five years of just 19%.”

“When is the right time to market your business?” Lipe concluded. “All the time.”

Era of low-cost marketing

The advice is timeless, but these days it’s easier than ever to promote your business – and especially important during a difficult fiscal period.

“Staying in the public eye is essential to enduring a recession,” said California journalist and digital consultant John Boitnott, who was quick to add that marketing today “doesn’t have to break your budgets.”

“Social media and websites provide an effective platform for small-business owners to market without spending too much,” Boitnott noted in a recent article on “Social media is free. Options like Facebook ads and email marketing are low-cost compared to a TV commercial.”

The bottom line: “If potential customers don’t know you exist, they can’t use your products or services,” Boitnott said, “so utilize inexpensive options if you have to, but don’t stop marketing.”

At The Goddard Company Public Relations and Marketing, we take great pride in helping our clients establish individual marketing budgets that make sense for their unique needs. To learn how you can prepare your business for whatever lies ahead, visit us at