It happens with every downturn: some companies find ways to thrive. In a recent post at B2B Marketing Confidential, Andy Hasselwander offered some good advice on doing business when the economy goes south. His source? None other than Studs Terkel’s book about the Great Depression, Hard Times.

B2B Marketing Tips

Thinking Outside The Marketing Paradigm

One chapter in the book, “The Big Money,” includes an interview with William Benton, founder of the ad agency Benton & Bowles (now D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles). Not only did the startup agency not crash when the stock market did, its profits shot up—and stayed there. How did they do it? Hasselwander lists some reasons, then translates them into tips for B2B marketers today.

The agency did audience research. “They worked with George Gallup. They listened to customers. … This was new stuff,” Hasselwander reports. Lesson: Marketers who listen to their customers [and clients] in new and powerful ways will win the battle for fewer dollars.

They invested in media (like radio) that bigger agencies were ignoring. Lesson: Those who master the next wave of media will rise above the fray.

They invested in other businesses—at rock-bottom prices. Lesson: Keep some powder dry. The really good investment opportunities are starting now.

They invested in new talent. The agency was able to “add incredible talent at low prices because of the glut of labor supply,” he reports. Lesson: Keep hiring channels open, and be pickier than ever.

Think outside the tattered box. Great marketers find an opportunity in every challenge—and forge ahead.

Source: B2B Marketing Confidential.