Can Your Customers Live Without You?

Is the recession over?  I keep hearing that it is, but I don’t believe it (that’s my issue).  But what matters to our businesses is how our customers feel.  In and out of recession, they still have needs and wants, and if we meet those desires, then we are still in business.

The Product

In “Are Consumers Ready to Start Spending?,” Anita Campbell says, “While it is possible that consumer spending attitudes will loosen up as the recovery strengthens, it’s also possible this may not happen for some time.”  So what’s the small business solution to encouraging customer spending?

Anita gives three suggests to help us do this, including the recommendation that you “position your products and services as good value.”  She explains that value “mean(s) your products or services are high quality and lasting, making them a good value for the money.  With consumers spending less often, they are being more critical and cautious when they do buy and looking for things that are worth spending on.”

Sometimes, it’s easy to hear advice and move past it without applying it effectively.  But take a minute and think about your own spending—especially if you are your target market.  Note your behavior, then pay attention to your clients’ behavior.  What type of product combination does your client need—what type of product combination do you need—to make spending worth it? Now put a strategy in place to create that combination  In your niche, hopefully, your customers feel like they can’t live without you and your targeted solutions.

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The Marketing

Keep this in mind, not everyone has been in a recession.  It’s our responsibility to know our clients and adjust accordingly.  But understanding your client base is just the beginning.  You still have to market to them in a way that appeals to that particular group because it’s your marketing that will get them to your doors (off and online).

In the article “Attention Small Businesses: You’re ALL in the Marketing Business,” Ivana Taylor says,  “You’re in business to make money (and, preferably, you keep more than you make).”  In order to make that money, Ivana believes you need to employ an “attractor strategy.”   She adds, “Throwing salespeople out there WITHOUT a marketing strategy and marketing support is what we do when we think we’re in the widget business.”

It’s our job

  • to know our business and our clients
  • to speak a language that connects with our (potential) clients
  • to understand the strategy behind the business, which includes the marketing that keeps us connected to our clients

Put in the time to learn how the marketing piece of your business works. Then establish a system and team to support that strategy.  After all, it’s hard to stay in business when very few know how great you are or that they need and want what you have.  It’s your marketing that lets them know.


When you finally decide to put on your marketer’s hat (and keep it on), Susan L. Reid, in “5 Steps to Determine Your Unique Selling Point,” has a few tips for you.  Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is the thing that makes you stand out.  Without it, your potential clients cannot understand the difference between you and everyone else who does what you do.  Without it, they can’t understand why they should choose you over anyone else.  Without it, they can’t justify the ongoing spending to themselves nor the others on their team.

Susan urges you to find your USP and:

  • “Stop putting your business at risk.”
  • “Put an end to getting lost in the crowd.”

Plus she gives you five clear ways to get it done.

In the end, your business is about the people you serve, and it’s your marketing that connects you to them.


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

7 Reactions
  1. Hi Jamillah — Enjoyed your article and shared it on our Facebook page

    Hope to see you at the Small Business Survival Summit!

  2. Great Post, I see the issue of SMBs not really driving their marketing like they should, especially the successful owners that believe that the addition of a few sales people will get them out of their relative slump. Marketing cohesiveness is a MUST.

  3. Great article. It moves me to actually write this. I believe I know what the strengths of my business is/are but I need the help of someone to organize my strengths and how I should market it and then enlist the help of marketing my business. The economy really has a definite effect on our business. We went from a staff of 4 to a staff of 1. Whatever physical marketing help I can enlist for a humble token would be greatly appreciated. I so want to help the economy and hire people that are willing to work.

  4. One key I’ve found is to focus on helping your customer deal with his problems. If you fix problems with his sales, profit margins, or reduce risk, it’s easier to make the sale.

  5. As noted in your article above, “Keep this in mind, not everyone has been in a recession.”

    Thanks for the reminder. Not only has everyone not been in a recession, some businesses are doing quite well while others are launching, even now, with succcess.

  6. Great reminder about the importance of knowing who our customers are, finding out what they want and putting a plan in place to meet those needs. Thanks for the post.

  7. The economic challenges may not be over for many years unfortunately, which makes the messages in your post even more important. I particularly agree with the need to identify and promote USPs.