During periods of slower economic activity, it can be very tempting to change your regular marketing strategies in an attempt to drive up more sales. However, while these new lead generating tactics might make a slight difference, it is ultimately your brand image and the quality of your products or services that will make a significant impact on your business’s overall performance. In this episode, Jon Aidukonis and Gene Marks discuss several brand marketing strategies that will help keep your small business thriving during an economic slowdown.

Podcast Key Highlights

  • Do I Need to Change My Business’s Marketing When The Economy Starts to Slow Down?
    • You don’t actually need to do something completely different with your marketing during these slower periods.
    • If your business is continuing to do well, your primary focus should be on maintaining your current brand image through quality service and products; any additional marketing you do should be to reinforce the loyalty of your existing client base.
    • However, if you’re losing business, you should focus on the customer experience or the brand experience since improving these areas will help you capture more business from your existing customers and prevent them from leaving you for a competitor.
  • How Do I Brand My Small Business?
    • Unlike lead generating marketing, which ultimately strives to increase revenue, the goal of brand marketing or top funnel marketing is to achieve brand equity.
  • Building a brand begins with cultivating your products or services to their highest potential. While this step may not generate any initial leads or sales, it provides your business with a solid foundation.
  • Once you can deliver a high quality product or service, it’s simply a matter of promoting your business until it becomes a “top of mind” choice within your industry.
  • Branding and reputation is especially important during slower economic periods since your customers will already be scrutinizing every purchase they make. If your business isn’t adding value to their lives, they may decide to forgo your products and services altogether.



The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.

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Jon: Welcome back to another episode of Small Biz Ahead, the small business podcast presented by The Hartford. This is Jon Aidukonis and I’m joined back with Gene Marks.

Jon: How you doing?

Gene: I am doing fine, Jon, how are you?

Jon: Pretty good, thanks.

Gene: Good.

Jon: All right. Today we are here to talk about marketing during an economic slowdown.

Gene: Nah, it’s not a big deal. Not that important.

Jon: Fun topics, light topics.

Gene: Not critical at all. I have lots of things to talk about here, but first of all, just I was hoping you would jump in first. You’re a marketing guy, you’re a branding guy. What are your thoughts?

Jon: So I don’t think marketing changes, and I think that’s actually one of the biggest misnomers is “I have to do something completely different.” I think that the tactics I would use would change because your goals are probably different, but I think that the principles are still the same.

Jon: What are you trying to do, and who are you trying to get to do it? So I think it’s one of those wonderful answers, it’s going to depend on what you do and what your challenge is, but I think it starts with taking an assessment. Does a slowdown economy impact your business negatively? And that’s where I think… Because it’s going to impact you one way or another, you’re either going to do better, or the same, or worse. But I think that there’s some people who are poised to compete more. You think about people who sell more on value, you think about people who provide a cost-competitive service, they might actually see an initial bump. I think that the question comes down to how does that waterfall?

Jon: I go back to 2008, at the time I was behind a lot of bars in New York and the mid-Atlantic, and what we started to see in this, what I’ll call “elevated-local concepts,” were fine dining diners were now coming to these more trendy, casual spots. So we actually benefited, because we weren’t priced out of the economy at the time. We still had our regulars, we still had the everyday, but we started to see this bulk of business come from people who wanted the next step-down on the price level.

Jon: So for us, it was a good thing. And then how do you keep them? So to me, it comes back to communication and service almost always, especially when people are thinking more focused on where every dollar and every penny is going. You got to make sure that you’re adding some kind of value to their life and experience. So I don’t know if it’s as much about marketing first, as much as it is about really cleaning up your own house, and making sure you’re doing the best at what you do first.

Gene: Because you’re not really, in that example, it’s not like you’re really talking about marketing, you’re talking about more branding yourself as well.

Jon: Yeah and I think that that’s where when everything’s going good, and everybody has money, and it’s just everyone’s out at the beach yelling, you just need to be the loudest person to get attention. And that’s where I think you’re going to see a lot of tactics in what I call normal times.

Jon: So are you doing mass-reach things? Are you on TV? Are you taking over radio? Are you doing a lot of events? You’re really just competing for the volume and for the attention. I think that it’s a little bit different if you’re in the boat of, “Okay, people are slowing down and I need to capture either more business from my existing customers, or I need to prevent them from going to someone else.” That’s a different game. So that starts to talk a lot about more customer experience, brand experience. What do you really stand for, and do people know it?

Jon: I think that goes really back to service. So are people getting not only what they want but in a way that feels really good to them? I think it’s a lot about adding value versus taking out costs. So what can you do within the parameters if you have to make that extra special? I think it’s about making things really easy and frictionless.

Jon: So if you’re in a service or an eTail-based business that it can’t be clunky and that might be shifting from a platform management to a person-management style to make sure people really know what’s going on. But I think it becomes more about refining who you are and how you operate, and then of course making sure you can communicate that right. But I think it comes down to are you trying to attract new right now? Because that might not be the right thing for you. Or, are you trying to keep what you have and get the most out of them? Because then you’re really in a customer-engagement play versus a true advertising, or brand awareness, type play.

Gene: And, guys, if you’re listening to this conversation, Jon is a marketing guy. This is what Jon does at The Hartford. And I’m curious, Jon, you do spend a lot of time and money here on branding, and then you also have activities that are lead generation as well.

Gene: And I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on branding for a small business. It’s different when you’re at The Hartford and you want to see that Hartford banner in a baseball game, or whatever. That that does have a long term… But it doesn’t necessarily turn into a lead right away. Small businesses have a lot less resources, so what are your thoughts on branding for a small business, versus lead-generation marketing?

Jon: I think that they both have a role. So I think that when you think about what I’ll call brand marketing, or top-funnel marketing, it’s hard for people to get their head around it sometimes, because it’s not an immediate ROI. It’s not a, “I got a paid search ad, and I saw that convert, and now I have a sale.”

Jon: But without it, you’re less likely to get the rest. So when you think about anything in your life, if you need to buy gas, you want to go buy clothes, you want to… You’re thinking about where you can go run an errand, there’s probably some association that comes when you have to complete a transaction or task of where you’re going to go do it, and a lot of that’s what happens in a brand marketing or brand-experience level.

Jon: So if you can be a top-of-mind choice for people when they’re considering a purchase, you’re more likely to get the purchase because they don’t have to find you, and whether they know you, or think they know you, or think they know what to expect from you, everything else rises with that.

Gene: So is that an example of when I… ‘Cause I never thought of myself doing a lot of branding work, but in my business I send out newsletters based on the products that we sell. We sell five products, we have five different newsletters that get sent out, and I get every month that I’ll send out newsletters and somebody, a few people or a handful of people, will respond back to me saying, “I’ve been getting your newsletters for the past few years and we’re now looking for something that you might be able to help us with.”

Gene: It wasn’t a lead gen, it was a branding thing. Newsletter marketing is a branding type of exercise for a small business. Does that make sense to you?

Jon: Yeah, I think it can be. It depends who you’re mailing, but I think that the more you can stay in people’s mind in the forefront, the more likely they are to think of you, or hopefully choose you, when it comes time to getting a service or product you provide.

Jon: So people can’t do something that they don’t know about, so if they don’t know that you’re the one who sells a CRM system, they’re not going to think about you to buy it. But people are not always in the moment of shopping when they’re willing to understand and learn about new things. So it’s that balance, because if they’re already like, “Hey I need to go get X, Y, Z and I’m on the way to get it.” They’re not going to go 20 minutes in a different direction to go somewhere else, unless they’re shot down and now they have to restart the process.

Jon: “So let me figure out who sells us. Let me figure out who does this. Let me go through understanding what do other people think about them. What do I think about them? What do they say that they do? What do they actually do?” And a lot of that comes from brand. So the more top of mind you are, and I think this is pretty universal from any category, again, it’s not always. We all have things in our brains that we can draw and recall really quickly that we don’t like, but more often than not, if someone can name you at an unprompted basis, so not like, “Hey have you heard of the Marks group?” If someone’s like, “Hey I need to get a CRM solution, let me call the Marks group.”

Gene: Because we’ve seen emails from them before, or we have a friend of mine who mentioned them before, or we’ve seen their advertisements at are trade group or something like that.

Jon: And it takes some time for that to happen.

Gene: It does.

Jon: I think that the science says it takes six times for a person to see something to really committed to memory.

Jon: I think it takes six to 10 times every four weeks just because we’re in such a swamped and a highly…

Gene: Information overload.

Jon: And we can’t really shut down anymore. So you think about how many times you see a brand impression a day. You drive down the street, you see a sign on all the fast-food restaurants. You see them on shopping malls, you see them on your receipts, or the back of your receipts for other brands. You’re on your phone and you’re getting sponsored content sent through your news app. You open it up and then you see an ad on social media.

Jon: So the amount of information that a human interacts with every second, even in your car, you’re driving down the street and you’re looking at a logo on your dashboard. So you’re constantly reminded of companies, and products, and services around you, and there’s not a lot of capacity for something new and then the education that comes with it. So there is that just getting on the field before you can even play the game, and then I think that’s where you get a lot of the other things.

Jon: So once you’re there, your associated people get you, then you can compete in those lower funnel tactics. So, “Do I want to do paid-search acquisition ads? Am I doing lead generation and offers like that?” But I don’t think a lot of that works for long-term value, or to weather the storm, without some brand equity, which takes time, but it’s also what you do. So you can promote your brand, but your brand is really your business strategy.

Gene: I always thought the brand as well, when I look at my company over the past 20 years I’ve been running it, I can’t deny that the way vast majority of leads that comes to me for new projects are by referrals.

Gene: And you gave the example earlier of the restaurant and running during a recession. The high-end restaurants weren’t attracting many, but people had to have a good experience at that restaurant so they would go back and tell their friends and that worked. And I feel like for a small business that you could spend money on the advertising, you could spend money on online searching, and whatever, but there’s almost no branding that can even compete with just doing a good job, focusing on that.

Jon: And we talked about that before in a couple episodes. I think that’s the first step. So I think your brand strategy is your business strategy, and if you look at them as two separate things, then they’re never going to make sense together.

Jon: And then the brand marketing, that’s how people learn about your reputation. So there’s a difference between brand and marketing that all work together to start to push through then sales acquisition, customer loyalty. But you need to do what you say, then you need to let people know what you do, and then they need to want what you do, and that’s when you start to like, “Okay, we’re going to remind you, but also let you know not only do we do this, but you should buy it from us because of this.” And then, “You should keep buying it from us because we continue to prove it out in our business function every day.”

Jon: So if we say that we’re trustworthy and loyal, and I think about Nordstrom being known for being that company who would never give you a hassle with a return. They never gave you a hassle with a return. I don’t know if that’s still true today, but it’s one of those things where if you say you’re going to do it, get it really tidied up first, and then talk about it. And I think that’s what the core, especially when people are being more judicious with their money, when they’re more concerned, when they start to look at what maybe was a habitual or a necessity purchase in their mind before is now an extra, make sure that you’re really giving every value to that dollar that you can, because they’re giving every consideration to it before they spend it.

Gene: So if you were running your own business, this whole conversation about marketing during an economic slowdown, and I think branding is so important to do that.

Gene: And, again, you’re running a restaurant because what else would we talk about? What would you do? What would you do to build your brand per se? I’m not talking about lead gen here, I’m talking about what would be your long-term branding strategy?

Jon: So I think you’re right. And you said something really interesting about how a lot of the referrals you’re getting now are through customer referrals. So I think one is…

Gene: By the way, cart before the horse, egg before the chicken, don’t you need customers so you can do a good job? How do you get those initial customers? That’s all no silver bullet to answer that question.

Jon: Well if you’re new, you probably have some network or audience that believes in you or trusts you, or you hope. So if that’s friends, if that’s family, if that’s colleagues who were like, “You should go out on your own.”

Jon: If that’s investors you’ve been talking to, it’s going to depend on your initial situation, but use those people and use their networks. So I think a lot of times we’re afraid to ask for things, but if you really think about it, if you’re asked of, most people are happy to help.

Gene: So if you are opening up, and by the way I’m using the example of a restaurant, but this can apply to any business. You’re opening up a restaurant, your first step would be, “Okay, to prove my brand and to prove that I’m as good as I am, I need to get customers in the door, and the first place to look for customers is my network and the networks of my friend’s networks.” That’s probably what you would do .

Jon: That my vendors, so I’ll caveat this with certain things I would never open up that business unless I’ve been at least peripherally involved in the industry for a couple years prior.

Gene: Good advice.

Jon: Or I built a network of mentors and relationships before. I’m going to put that assumption on at least in the restaurant example because restaurants…

Gene: And if you’re in the restaurant business, you also have to be a little insane putting all that together

Jon: And your coworkers usually become family. You tend to, if you’re in that industry, have a network of like-minded people in the industry.

Jon: So you think about your opening staff, that’s going to be a way to get people. “Come visit me.” Incentivize them and pull out the classic tricks. So if it’s a restaurant example, if you have a bar, give your bartenders a comp tab. Say, “Okay, every night you can give away X amount of drinks or X amount of dollars.” To incentivize people to come stay. They feel like they’re special, they want to tell their friends, they feel like they’re being taken care of. That’s a really low-cost way. ‘Cause it’s just costing you the cost, it’s not costing you the price, and if you have someone who feels like they’re a celebrity when they walk in, they’re probably going to bring five or 10 of their friends who are going to augment whatever loss that was.

Gene: Sure, okay. And feeling like a celebrity is basically, “Yeah, I know the owner of this place.”

Jon: How many people know someone who knows the owner? That’s one.

Jon: I think the other thing is work with your vendors. So especially if you’re in food service, you probably have some local affiliate of a vendor group supply chain that you’re getting. So you might be ordering a national or international product, but it’s coming from a local food supplier, a liquor distributor, a beer distributor.

Jon: Those people probably have 15, 20 accounts each, and they know the staff, and they’ve done training, and they’ve done rewards. Use them to let people know that you’re opening. They want their accounts to be successful because it’s more sales for them. I think look at your community. So if you’re, again, I think that there’s something really unique about restaurants and food where it’s about a place of gathering, and usually a place of community when you think about when you’re talking about new cities that you’re visiting. Usually one of the first questions is “Where is the best place to eat?”

Jon: So play into that. So maybe that’s when you’re doing your opening, or when you do your soft opening, if you don’t have one maybe you add that where you can get some kinks out and people start to know about you, and they don’t have to pay as much. Maybe you tie your grand opening to some kind of charity where you can leverage their network to know because they’re benefiting from it, too. So I think it’s…

Gene: All of these ideas by the way, cost nothing.

Jon: It’s relationships. It’s your time.

Gene: It’s all relationships, and you’re looking for referrals. And it gets back to… I think the point I was making is that the idea is to try and get people in the door and get customers to show them how good you are with the intention of them turning around and spreading the word. And that’s how you grow your business, how you grow your brand.

Jon: And I think especially if you’re new in business, if you’re dealing with budget constraints because of everything going on in the world, there’s a lot of ways where you can maybe reduce profit, versus incurring costs, but build value.

Jon: So you’re trading off the 18%, you might have made off an opening ticket to 15, because part of that’s going back to community organization, something else. So I look for ways like that. What are ways that actually are not a hard cost for you or an out-of-pocket cost, rather?

Gene: Which, and if I can also jump in on that thought as well, there is nothing wrong, in fact there’s a lot of things right about taking your first six months or year’s profits, as long as you’re covering your costs. And, by the way, that cost should include you as hopefully you’re taking a salary compensation.

Gene: But to take those profits and reinvesting them in activities, like you just said, to bring those customers in the door with the idea they’re going to invest in that first year because that’s going to pay off over the next five, 10, 15 or years. And I think that’s a really good tactic to take. And you don’t have to take all of your profits, but like you said, a portion of them to give them back.

Jon: And I think those rules apply to other industries too.

Jon: So I think if you’re in retail, and you’re opening a new boutique or clothing store, pretty easy to find people who are probably thought of as fashionable, or a good shopper. And if you can use them in their networks, or you probably have an interest and have friends. They have people who have enough in common with you where you share some taste. So I think one is, don’t be afraid to use your networks. It doesn’t mean turn them into now like a spam-bot channel. Be selective. I think…

Gene: You could ask and people want to help.

Jon: But I think especially for new in business that’s exciting. They feel like a personal connection. There’s an emotional connection to that. People are happy to make the world better.

Gene: Also, funny about stuff like that, and this all is part of branding. If you go and search for my company on Google, there’s a few people have left reviews, and I was like, “We have more reviews on Google because people do look at that.”

Gene: And I reached out to 50 clients, and emailed them and said, “Hey would you mind?” They’re like, “Yeah, sure we’d love to.” And if people want to… It’s not asking much to do that, and that helps. That’s a brand thing as well, from an online perspective. But reaching out to your network is something that I think people underestimate. ‘Cause we hate to ask, we hate to be a bother, but I think people… I don’t know. You open up a restaurant, you’re asking me to come by and bring some friends or whatever, I would, because you want to help out the people that you know and you like.

Jon: And I think the review one’s a good point too. ‘Cause I think it’s very easy to work that into something that you’re doing.

So if it’s on a receipt, if it’s on an email follow up, an invoice, you can give people the option.

Gene: “Please leave us an online review.”

And by the way, those online reviews are huge.

Jon: Or, “Send us your feedback,” and if you can build that into a way where maybe you get permission to use some of their verbatims to share. I think people like hearing from people.

Gene: And by the way, my story on my online reviews here, is that I had four reviews for years. I don’t know, based on the nature of review, people weren’t leaving online. I wasn’t asking for them, whatever. One of them was a horrible review and this could be a whole other topic of a podcast, but somebody left me a one-star review and really killed us.

Gene: And in some case he was right. In some case it was justified, but we had rectified that years ago, but it was still out there. I can’t tell you how many times I would speak to a prospect and they’d be like, “Okay we’re interested in working for you, but I got to ask you a question. I saw on Google you had…” We had three reviews and one was a bad review, and yet it resonated with more than you would think. Saying, “Can you explain why that…” From five years ago.

Gene: And that’s what prompted me to be like, “I need to get 50 good reviews on here to completely bury that bad review.” Those kinds of things really impact your brand, what other people are saying. And people tend to gravitate towards the negative rather than the positive, so you have to be really careful about that stuff, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your customers, “Leave us a review.” Or “Give us a good statement on Yelp,” or something like that. That’s all part of your brand as well.

Jon: It is, and I think it goes back to the comment on staff and experience. So even bad customers are customers, and they still want, and deserve, a good experience in most situations. As a customer, as a person, you could argue. I think that’s a good point, is that people tend to express feelings when they’re strong.

Gene: Yes, and generally negative. That’s what people do.

Jon: Correct. Unless it’s a way above and beyond positive. So my advice to people is always to look at the three-star reviews if they’re looking for a vendor, because those tend to be the most true, but I think if you’re in a business, and if you’re on review platforms or if you’re the business that would be reviewed, which I don’t think anything is really not, I think you need to be an active participant in that conversation. So if you don’t have a claimed business page on Facebook, and Yelp, and Google.

Gene: Business profile on Google, which you should.

Jon: I would say look into that and look to see where your customers are talking about you already, or have.

It’s pretty simple on most of those sites to create an account profile page.

Gene: Google profile is very simple.

Jon: It gives you some control. So I think there’s something, you made a really good comment. There was some truth to the negative review, and I think that that’s the first thing when you’re looking at these. You have to take yourself out of it, which is hard when it’s your business, or your team, but what they perceive versus what’s reality could be true. It could not be. There could be a learning there.

Gene: I still took the air out of his tires by the way, just saying. I was very upset that day.

Jon: Don’t recommend that. But I think responding to those publicly, not hiding from them, is a good thing to do. If you can do it in a way that’s tempered. So I don’t think you go back on and wage a war online I think, but it’s like, “Hey, thank you for the feedback.” Or, “I understand. We thought this was remedied. Let us know if we can do anything else.”

Jon: Show the fact that you’re not going to leave someone hanging. Whether or not they react, you’re really doing it more, to your point, for the people that are seeing it, they see the full circle. They see that you want to close the loop, and then if someone responds or doesn’t respond, that’s on you, or on them. I think the other thing, too, is to take the learning from it. So if it’s something where you’re seeing your bad reviews spike on the same time every week, is it a staffing issue? Is it something that’s going on at that time? Is it all on one product? Is it something where maybe what’s being sold, the expectation should be there, but maybe it’s communicated in a different way? There might be ways to also…

Gene: I just want to emphasize though that, again, this conversation is about marketing in a slower economy, and I think for a small business, people are always saying, “Where do we spend our marketing money? And we have limited resources.”

Gene: And I always think if you do a really good job, you’ll get… I just learned that people will refer. People go to good restaurants, they keep coming back when they enjoy the experience. Same thing in any B2B business as well. So it’s all about doing a good job and building a brand around that. Doing what you say you’re going to do. You got to get customers in the door. So some of the ideas that you brought up were really, really helpful to do that.

Gene: If you’re running any business, like grand openings and special… Which don’t cost you that much to do, but we shouldn’t be ignoring online as well. Because, again, it’s all about references, and testimonials, and people telling their friends. Sometimes people that you don’t even know are commenting about you online, and people read that stuff, and that’s part of your brand, and you have to pay attention to it.

Jon: They do. And I think all this goes to the first thing is you have to have a clean house before you invite people over.

Jon: I do think there’s merit, and a need, to let people know about what you do, because you can do the best thing in the world, no one knows about, it’s not going to help. But you also want to make sure, in a world where people are going to be scrutinizing you to a different level before they even get to know you, that you’re not leaving a stone unturned on showing who you are and what your business does, and what your team does, and what your product does. So I think these things really help do that. It helps create a good baseline.

Jon: So if you are then spending money on local TV, or radio, or whatever it is that works for you, when people start to then search like, “Hey, okay, I want to check out this new place,” they’re not disappointed or turned off before they even come in. So it gives you the right to compete I think when it comes to what should you do, or where should you spend. I think that’s really going to depend on what it is your challenge is.

Jon: So people not spending in general is a challenge that I don’t think any amount of marketing is going to overcome. I think you have to look at your business and figure out how can you capitalize. So if it is a restaurant, I would look at your meal period. So if you bring more people in, you also have to staff and have more product. So if your dinners are doing really well, you have a great happy hour, you have a good late night, maybe what you need to focus on is lunch, which is going to be a very different tactic. If you’re a place that does sandwiches, burgers, stuff like that, salads, maybe your step should actually be finding someone, starting reaching out to pharmaceutical sales reps who are ordering lunches to deliver to offices. Maybe it’s talking to corporate campuses.

Jon: Again, talk to your suppliers who might have big teams that they need to feed. Maybe it’s some kind loyalty program where you’re incentivized if you come in during certain times, but I don’t think it’s always about necessarily spending or taking off. I’d say avoid the discount, because discounts become expectations. I think in terms of channel tactics, it’s really going to depend on, again, what the product is.

Jon: Can they buy it online? Then maybe paid search works for you, but that’s also a game where you’re going to pay more, someone else is going to pay more, so if you’re in a really competitive space, that might not work for you. But I think the fundamentals of having a good business, making sure your reputation is protected, and then building on that is the first part.

Gene: Are we done? This conversation, I know we’re limited on time for each of these segments, but we could talk, again, about lead gen when it comes to marketing, and some of the marketing tools that are out there.

Gene: But I don’t know, and we get into this conversation about branding, and doing a good job for your customers, and I’ve just learned over the years that that’s just been the most important. It’s probably the best bang for your buck when it comes to marketing. So I hope that message gets through in this segment.

Jon: I think so. And I think that would be the first place I would start, is how can you maximize your relationship with existing customers? Because it’s most likely going to be easier for you to do that and create more opportunity for you to have the resources to attract new ones.

Jon: Most of our audience, I feel like, are established business owners. They understand who their customer is. I think it never hurts to do a segmentation strategy. Are there higher-value customers? Can you increase the lifetime value of a customer? What does that look like? That’s where I’d really start. I think if you are in an industry where you’re likely to lose flow, then how do you attract new?

Jon: And what I would start to look for really then is where is that flow going to trickle down from? Because it’s likely more of a step on the rung, especially in an economic situation, than some new development of a new target audience, or someone looking for something different than what they had before. They’re looking for probably a different way to get the experience they had before, or the quality they had before, or the next level down, because maybe that was more of a luxury purchase, or more of an emotional one.

Jon: So I think it’s understanding where you fit in that ball game, and that gives you a lot more direct tactics. So then if you want to talk about things like conquest-online advertising. So, “I want to go after Brand X because I expect them and their target to now come to a company like me.” That’s something you can do on most programmatic platforms, you can do with most individual media companies that you buy and bend with. I think you could then talk about things like search that are more acquisition based, and I think it’s looking for the things that people are trading off of, and then building that into your bigger tent-pole moments.

Jon: So do you need to start communicating a message of affordable luxury, or opulence? Is that where you sit in probably more of a restaurant-retail space? Is it more, “We’re a friendly everyday place and we’re going to make things really easy for you, because everything before was complex and now people are trying to get simpler.” So I’d say think about your industry, think about the level above and below, and where you can either bring up or take down. And that’s probably how you can bolster a little bit of extra income in this time too.

Gene: Everyone, you have been listening to the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. That was Jon Aidukonis talking. My name is Gene Marks, thanks for listening.

Gene: If you need any other advice or help or tips to help you run your business, please visit at smallbizahead.com or sba.thehartford.com.

Gene: We’re going to have another conversation about marketing as well. Lead generation is what I think would make a lot of sense, but hope you got a lot of value out of this one. So thanks for listening. We’ll be back soon. Take care.

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