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In This Issue
4 Factors to Consider in 2009
Change...Another Word for Opportunity
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Beverly Lages Principal of      Lages & Associates
Beverly with airplane
Beverly is the founder and principal of Lages & Associates.  She has experienced several recessions.  While each has presented tough challenges and decisions, she's shaped her team to be nimble and flexible and able to usher clients through the rough waters. 
Welcome to 2009!   It will be an interesting year indeed.  We start the New Year in the midst of an unprecedented economic downturn with optimism that our new President and administration will do more than instill hope.   It is also a time of ecological concerns and technology shifts.  Once titans of business are losing their stature and new business models are taking hold.
In a word, it is a time of change.   For all of us marketers we know what that means... opportunity!   And for those of us who have used fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) as a strategic marketing weapon we are now faced with the challenge of combating a global FUD phenomena.    So, rather than give in to the part of us that wants to retreat and batten down the hatches while the economic storm passes - we need to rise to the helm of the ship and navigate our destiny.  2009 is a time of opportunity!

4 Factors to Consider in 2009
We've all been told that when times get tough... smart marketing folks get creative and make lots of noise.  Maintaining a presence and gaining a competitive edge becomes the mantra.   However, when we see our budgets shrink, read about companies shuttering and commiserate with our colleagues while layoffs abound - we need solid reasons to do what we know is right.  Here are just four factors that you should take into account as you plan your marketing strategies for 2009:

1.  Being Heard just got Easier
When markets are thriving and money is flowing, the noise level rises to its peak.  Everyone wants to be noticed and grab market share.  During recessionary times, many businesses slash costs and go quiet.   They focus on survival and abandon the quest for growth.  Again... this is an environment of tremendous opportunity.  PR is unequivocally the marketer's top tool in a tight economy.  Affordable, believable and doable - PR is what keeps companies in the game and sets them up for success.
News releases, contributed articles, blogs, perspective pieces, e-newsletters and case studies are just a few ways to step up to the plate and be heard.    Building a strong brand means keeping your baseline communications programs in place, and perhaps even increasing them to fill the gap of an overall reduced marketing budget.
2.  Reach Out and Engage
Never before have we had the tools to cost effectively reach and engage directly with our target communities.  Social media has proven to be an effective and professional conduit to get the word out.  So why stop now?  And if you haven't incorporated social media strategies into your marketing programs - now is the time.  

3.  Instilling Trust
Trust is a huge factor for corporate success.  Investors, shareholders, partners, employees and customers - your entire ecosystem is looking to you to reassure them that your company is on track and has a plan.   Trust is an outgrowth of actions and communications.  Share your successes, acknowledge the challenges, address the bad news, provide a vision - but whatever you do, don't be silent as it only breeds fear.

4.   Media - Doing More with Less
All forms of media from business publications and news outlets to trade journals and broadcast --are under incredible transformation.  Not only is this industry facing the same challenges of today's economy, the media are going through massive technology-triggered changes.  More content has migrated to the Internet and the advertising model is under pressure, not to mention that editorial staffs have been cut.   Again, we are seeing change.  Again, this means opportunity! 
There is tremendous opportunity for PR to pick up the slack and offer solid story ideas and sources to back-up the story.  More than ever, multimedia assets are sought after by media:  photos, video and audio.  Case studies and contributed articles have a broad appeal and the opportunities for placement are great.  PR resources have become even more critical to media as they must do more with less.
Change... Another Word for Opportunity
No one said today's economic environment is a cake walk, but as with all challenges, there are opportunities as well.  Recessions don't last forever, and this one shall pass too.  
Happy New Year and remember that 2009 has a silver lining called opportunity!
Until the next newsletter, wishing you the best!

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Beverly Lages
Lages & Associates, Inc.