turn the sales and marketing funnel upside down

It's official; our U.S. economy is in a recession. We have a lethal virus on the loose, and civil unrest. In this challenging environment, you can still convince rattled consumers to buy medical devices and healthcare services. The good news is that it is possible to do business and flourish during a recession, which brings us to our first recession rocket rule:

There is always business in the market. But it's not business as usual.

We should know. We started our own company during the early 2000s, and we've helped our healthcare clients through every recession since then. Our clients not only made it through the recession, but they also increased market share as they emerged during the recovery.

Only 30% of marketers expect to attend an in-person conference this year

Our strategy takes the old marketing funnel. You know what we're talking about, the gadget where you toss customers in the top and work them over until cash pours out the bottom. We suggest you flip that marketing funnel upside down by putting your existing customers at the bottom of the funnel and moving upwards as demand increases.

This funnel marries stages of the sale with tactics to support them. In the conventional model, we nurture prospects to start a relationship with your practice or company.

Keep customers while you've got them

We start by prioritizing current customers. How is the recession affecting their needs? Do they need flexible payment terms? Listen. And find out if your backend sales and marketing, and support functions. "We really love you, but ____" Fill in the blank before it becomes an issue.

Prospects. They're the folks most likely to buy during the recession and recovery — lavish your attention on them. Become experts at communicating and presenting with video, and schedule meetings at convenient times for them. They have kids, dogs, parents just like you. If 8 a.m. on Saturday is the best time, do it. Be patient; everything is happening slower now. Use email campaigns and newsletters to keep your brand top of mind.

Consideration starts when a prospect visits your website. Perhaps, you're focusing on different products, like lower-priced models, make sure your SEO and content support them. Run diagnostics on your site to ensure that visitors aren't encountering broken links or leaving because of slow download times. Check to make that you have great calls-to-action, focused landing pages, and signups to capture leads. And turn your attention to social platforms and other tools that push traffic to your website.

Drive competitors from the marketplace.

Now let's claw our way up to brand preference. To earn brand preference, you need a compelling argument that decisively differentiates you from competitors in a meaningful way. Ideally, it's a riff on your existing strategy, but do keep in mind that consumers become amazingly pragmatic during a recession. They want claims backed up by facts they can verify. Quality and excellence are not strategies; they're just words.

Our fourth and final recession marketing tool comes from Ted Turner. Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise. Start by rethinking your approaches to social media advertising, targeted banner ads, journals, or consumer-facing platforms like print and broadcast. Though it may be the furthest from your mind right now, advertising deserves a second look. Your ad budget got cut, right? Well, so did the ad budgets of your larger and smaller competitors. Here's the opportunity. Advertising is in a slump, and media companies are ready to negotiate, which means you can buy a much larger share of voice at a heavily discounted rate. Having higher brand awareness as you emerge from the recession is priceless.

We hope you found this little ditty helpful. Stay healthy, and let's get out there and have a fabulous recession!

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