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“If you show an outward reduction in your public activities, the perception will certainly be by the viewer or the audience, that you are cutting back, and they will wonder why,” said Todd Ablowitz, President of payments industry consultancy Double Diamond Group LLC.

Ablowitz recommends that companies struggling financially scrutinize with “a laser focus” all aspects of their operations. “That doesn’t mean you eliminate advertising or marketing,” he said. “It means you make very clear decisions about the parts of your business that have the most chance for success and invest in those and be aggressive in cutting out expenses with less return.”

Ablowitz pointed out that for businesses that aren’t over leveraged but may have seen a drop in revenue, the recession presents an opportunity to take advantage of their relative stability.

“If your competitors are pulling back, find those weak spots and go there with your marketing,” Ablowitz said. “If your competitors are changing gears, make sure to pick up where they left off.

If they pulled out an ad that they were running in a good premium spot, maybe you should go and jump into that spot. … I’ve seen examples of competitors doing that. It can be very effective.”

The Green Sheet, September 28, 2009