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The economy may be down, but now is not the time for financial institutions to stop marketing to small businesses — and Harland Clarke
can help

When the economy hits a slow stride, financial institutions often reduce or temporarily halt their marketing efforts as a means of cutting costs. But marketing during an economic downturn can help fuel growth — especially when targeting certain market segments, like small businesses, and leveraging their strengths.


According to Warrilow & Co., an advisory service for enterprise companies focusing on small and midsize businesses, small businesses may have some advantages over their larger counterparts that can make marketing to them in a slowdown a wise choice. First, nearly 80 percent of employee-based businesses and 60 percent of sole proprietorships are self-financed. These entrepreneurs tend to use their own money, or obtain capital from family or friends, to get a business started or to run it day-to-day. Lending may be tight, but only 11 percent of small businesses rely on financial institution loans to start or acquire their businesses.

Second, small businesses can react quickly to changes in the marketplace and reinvent themselves as needed. If revenue from one customer base begins to drop, a small business can target another within days. With such flexibility and nimbleness, small-business owners are better able to ride out a recession....small businesses can react...

In addition, a recent poll from the National Federation of Independent Business shows 44 percent of small-business owners are spending more time at their businesses today than they were six months ago. With a greater focus on the operational components of their businesses, small-business owners are in the market for solutions that enable their businesses to run more smoothly and that provide security and convenience.

Recession-Proof Businesses?
Warrilow & Co. also suggests some segments of the small-business market may weather the economic storm better than others. For example, businesses driven by population growth — like those in the healthcare sector — will find a need for their services regardless of whether the economy is growing as well. Other businesses find that they have a competitive advantage during a sluggish economy, such as sandwich shops and delis that offer lower prices than upscale restaurants. Increasing organic growth during these times may come from marketing that is targeted at pockets of strength in specific industries.

How Harland Clarke Can Help
To get the most from your small-business marketing efforts, it is essential to reach the right consumers at the right time with the right message. Harland Clarke Marketing Services’ smart solutions can complement your marketing activities and optimize results by tapping into our broad suite of capabilities, including business intelligence-driven strategy, advanced predictive modeling and analytics, world-class production and information security, and contact center expertise.

Harland Clarke also works in partnership with your financial institution to provide the solutions that enhance service and value for account holders. For example, Harland Clarke Business Solutions can help your financial institution offer one-stop shopping for many of your small-business account holders’ needs — from software-compatible checks and forms to security bags and other accessories. When your branch personnel open business accounts, they simply refer your new account holders to Harland Clarke Business Solutions for all their check product and business form needs. It’s that easy.

Some benefits of Harland Clarke Business Solutions include:

For more information about how Harland Clarke Marketing Services can enhance your small-business marketing efforts, or how Harland Clarke Business Solutions can benefit your small-business account holders, contact your Harland Clarke account executive today or visit www.harlandclarke.com.stock ticker

Sources:
”The Top Two Reasons Small Businesses Outperform in Recessions,” Warrilow & Co., Nov. 11, 2008.
“Recession Proof? These Small Businesses Will Outperform,” Warrilow & Co., Nov. 19, 2008.
”New Data Reveals How Small Businesses Cope in Bad Times,” National Federation of Independent Business, July 7, 2008 (www.nfib.com/object/IO_37958.html).