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June 2008
Top of Mind Awareness in Rough Times
By John Paul Galles

     There’s no doubt that we’re in a very soft economy. Businesses cut costs when times are lean, and sometimes advertising is on the list of items to cut. I have a better idea. Now is the time to increase your advertising budgets. At least, make sure you target your limited dollars to reach those prospects most likely to buy from you. Keep your advertising focused on your most likely customers.

     Even Ben Bernanke is offering some cautious words about “financial markets starting to work better, but still not functioning normally.” We certainly have lived with a torrent of bad news over the last nine months from banks, mortgage companies and home builders. While Charlotte’s housing sector is feeling the slump, there are still 28 construction cranes standing tall alongside all the construction sites in center city Charlotte. Business activity in many sectors continues to grow.

     As the recovery becomes more evident to you and your company, will you be ready to take advantage of the economic upswing? Is your business ready to capitalize on the improved economic conditions? Is your business in a top-of-mind awareness position with your customers and potential customers? If it is, it got there because you’ve done a good job of marketing to your audience. If your company is not the first one your potential customers think of when they need certain products or services, you’ve got some work to do.

     You can be sure that if customers don’t think of you first, they’ll be thinking of your competitor first. When the economy brightens, whom do you think they’ll call? Unless or until you improve and expand recognition of your business name or your brand, you will be forgotten. That’s why there’s no better time than now to promote your business.

     As you can see by looking through this magazine, our advertisers have not stopped advertising. Many have increased their ad budgets. Our readers continue to read. Your message continues to be read. And soon, if the prognosticators are right, more customers will start spending more money again soon. Most didn’t even stop—they just tightened up their belts temporarily to ride out the bad times.

     It’s as important as ever for you to plan your ad budget. You need to make the smart choices about where you spend that budget and what messages you’ll be sending to your prospects. Be consistent. Make it interesting; even entertaining. Make it fun for your customer. Increase your visibility. Educate your customers and your prospects about all that you do. You may even sell more services or products if they knew more about all that you make or do.

     Top-of-mind awareness should be your goal. If you make the investment and make the right choices, you will be top-of mind and the first to be called. As the economy turns around, you’ll be right where you want to be.


John Paul Galles is the publisher of Greater Charlotte Biz.
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