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Lean times create the need for innovation in advertising.

When the economy slows and sales dwindle, a company cannot afford to stop spending on advertising, says Elizabeth Fournier.

According to Fournier, vice-president of McGuinty Consulting Inc. in North Bay, business owners must deal with reduced cash flows by being smarter and more aggressive, and by advertising selectively rather than not at all.

Jim Thompson, the account director with Henderson Delta Lakehill in Sudbury, recommends that business owners find innovative new ways to sell their products and that they research all available advertising mediums.

Thompson says it is a mistake to stop advertising in lean times. Statistics prove that businesses which retain a high profile in slowdowns recover more quickly when the economy turns around.

Maintaining a high profile could mean becoming more involved in the community or "dressing up" the business, Thompson adds.

For Holmes Pellerin Real Estate Ltd. of North Bay the challenge was met with a new and innovative way of advertising the company's name.

In 1989 Holmes Pellerin opted to have a city bus painted with its colors and logo. Because the idea was novel at that time, the company received a great deal of free publicity.

Company owner Mike Holmes says clients have listed their homes with him because they believed this innovative advertising indicated that the company would be equally innovative when it came to selling real estate.


The use of specialty advertising is another way of maintaining a company's profile.

Paul Meyers, the owner of Meyers Promotions and Marketing in North Bay, says the restrained economy has forced many buyers to select less expensive promotional products such as magnets, buttons and pens.

These products are particularly popular when used as part of a business-to-business direct-mail advertising campaign, or with other forms of advertising.

Meyers says small, flat promotional aids are easy to mail, they make a company's letter stand out from other mail and they can deliver such pertinent information as a company's name and address, or the date and location of a trade show which the company will be attending.

As a member of the Advertising Specialty Institute, Meyers has access to information on the availability of about 300,000 promotional products through his electronic source and photo system, a compact-disk computer system provided by the institute.

Meyers says many companies are also using promotional products as incentives to improve staff performance.


Diane Rioux of Ceilia's Flowers in North Bay reports that her shop has received new business by offering 10-per-cent discounts to companies and organizations.

Meanwhile, North Bay-based Ontario Film Lab relies on coupons as part of the advertising and marketing strategy for its eight Photo Metro stores.

Photo Metro uses Val Pak to distribute coupons in an effort to generate new business, explains David Tremblay, Ontario Film Lab's advertising manager.

The coupons are combined with regular in-store draws for regular customers.

While coupons and discounts can be effective ways of drawing in customers during slow times, Fournier reminds business owners that they must include the total value of the discounts as part of the overall cost of advertising.

Fournier recommends several measures for addressing an economic downturn. These include:

* diversifying the jobs of employees to give them a better understanding of the overall business

* cutting back the sales force or putting them on commission only

* having managers get their hands dirty

* reducing operating hours

* sticking to products which sell

* avoiding new products which require substantial promotion

* cutting prices and selling volume to keep stock moving and employees busy

* slowing down bill payments

* being more aggressive in negotiating terms with the bank
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Marketing Report
Author:Smith, Marjie
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Lakehead shopping developments get the nod.
Next Article:Surveys, focus groups identify market potential.

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