Strategies to survive the downturn

March 23, 2009
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Today’s WSJ has it’s ever-popular MIT Sloan Management School Business Insights section.

There’s an article by Dr. Martin Roth (prof. of int’l business & chief innovation & assessment officer at U of South Carolina) and Dr. Richard Ettenson (assoc. prof. & Thelma H. Kieckhefer fellow in global marketing and brand strategy at Thunderbird) called

“Surviving the Downturn: Lessons from Emerging Markets

They say that now is the time to implement “bold, creative ideas, outflank rivals and boost (your) business.”  Here are some of the lessons they recommend you follow…


Today’s WSJ has it’s ever-popular MIT Sloan Management School Business Insights section.

There’s an article by Dr. Martin Roth (prof. of int’l business & chief innovation & assessment officer at U of South Carolina) and Dr. Richard Ettenson (assoc. prof. & Thelma H. Kieckhefer fellow in global marketing and brand strategy at Thunderbird) called

“Surviving the Downturn: Lessons from Emerging Markets

They say that now is the time to implement “bold, creative ideas, outflank rivals and boost (your) business.”  Here are some of the lessons they recommend you follow:

When the economy is down, get customers to trade up by making price increases between product tiers smaller and more consistent (signaling better value to consumers) and give up the extra margin for “quick and decisive market leadership” and on-going brand loyalty.

Implement or maintain an unwavering focus on retaining customers.  One way is to increase product and service visibility: reallocate marketing spend to customers you already have (since it’s less expensive to sell to them than to new ones) and another is to maintain sufficient sales and service staff levels.

Look at new metrics: include a broader view of the market including macro-economic data (inflation, unemployment, exchange rates, GDP per capita, etc.) and use that data for better scenario planning (best-case, worst-case, likely-case, etc.).  Then craft a strategy for each scenario.

Each of these recommendations not only cause a change in policy, process and priorities (and maybe even org structure), but will also require a revision of your measures, your plans, and your analytics.  And, of course, we would say that the place to start is to get senior management literally on the same sheet of paper about exactly what are the right performance markers.


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