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Staying Up in a Down Economy: Eight Marketing-Strategy Tips from Best Buy and Wipro CMOs

by Roy Young  |  
November 18, 2008

Leading companies do not subscribe to the common misconception that marketing is a discretionary expense. They know that there is business opportunity during economic downturns, and marketing can lead the way: With smart marketing they stay on top and often capture more market share during a recession.

To find out their secrets, I recently connected with two leading chief marketing officers—those of consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and global technology services giant Wipro. I asked what advice they have for consumer and business marketers when the economy is bleak.

Regardless of industry or state of your marketing budget, the following tips from Barry Judge of Best Buy and Jessie Paul of Wipro can help you stay up in a down economy.

Tips From Barry Judge, Chief Marketing Officer, Best Buy

Tip 1: Seek out pockets of demand, and invest

Take a closer look at the marketplace for areas where consumer demand remains relatively strong or where demand is emerging as a result of the weakening economy:

First, identify and focus investment on your highest-value customers. These customers are your most identifiable and reliable source of revenue and profit across your business; and because they are enthusiasts for your products or services, they will be most likely to continue spending in your categories during a down economy. At Best Buy, we can identify them through our database and loyalty programs, so we can target offers, communication, and investment directly to them.

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Roy Young is coauthor of Marketing Champions: Practical Strategies for Improving Marketing's Power, Influence and Business Impact. For more information about the book, go to or order at Amazon.

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  • by G. Harris Wed Nov 19, 2008 via web

    I found this article most helpful because you offered insight from both a consumer CMO and a B-B CMO.

    Thanks for that.

  • by Mike Brown Fri Nov 28, 2008 via web

    Thanks for these perspectives. Here's a link to some additional thoughts on marketing during challenging economic times:

    Mike Brown

  • by pooja jain Sat Nov 29, 2008 via web

    it is definitely helpful for the students like us to understand the ways to overcome the market situation

  • by Duct Tape Coach Elizabeth Walker Mon Dec 1, 2008 via web

    Because we deal with SME businesses, we find we have to "translate" this great advice into ideas entrepreneurs can get their minds around. Here's our translation:
    1. Find your Ideal Customers and focus on them: the ones you like to deal with, who pay on time, who give you the information to do your job well. It's pay-back time; these customers have supported you for years, and now it's your turn to give them your undivided attention. It will pay back handsomely with referrals.
    2. If you've never measured before, start now. You can't afford to waste your scarce marketing dollars, so measure, measure, measure. And don't be afraid to cancel programs that don't work - that radio package that never made the phone ring, directory ads ditto, listings in the local paper ditto.
    3. Invest in your brand story! Not what you sell, but how you deliver exceptional customer value: better delivery, an iron-clad guarantee, service extras, testimonials, case histories...tell your prospects why they should trust you and how your way of doing business is different and better.

  • by Ken Burgin, Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach Mon Dec 1, 2008 via web

    Marketers should also remember that in tough economic times, a great creative idea in their advertising, whether print, broadcast, or new media, is more important than usual when sales are easier! When clients/consumers are being pickier than ever about where they'll spend their precious dollars, marketers must make the most of their marketing propositions by going all out to make offers that attract attention and get response sending messages that rise above the usual humdrum. Sure, sometimes going to creative extremes is riskier, but it's a risk worth taking when the alternative may be to just go unnoticed.

  • by Lizbizzbuzz Sun Jan 11, 2009 via web

    I think the comments are great as well as your interview with Best Buy. One important thing to remember is to find out how your customers got into your store. Tack your stats so you know where to spend your money. I love your newsletter. Lis

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