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Gaining Market Share in a Slow Economy

by Jim McMahon

Industrial manufacturers that expand their feature story PR efforts in a sluggish economy can more easily snatch market share away from their competitors.

In a tough economic climate, industrial manufacturers need to promote more than ever to compensate for difficult market conditions. Those that expand their marketing during such times will emerge with increased market share captured from those that did not. But most companies, instead, reduce their marketing, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.  This reduction leaves their market share wide open to be usurped by their competitors. 

Market share is a fluid commodity, it is never static. It is influenced by the acceptance or confidence that an audience display toward a company or brand, which is modified by a brand’s product features, product quality, size of installed base and name recognition, as well as a company’s service capability, experience and stability. The market share of both the brand and the company are further modified, and quite significantly, by the strength of their market positioning. 

The positioning of these factors in the mind of the industrial consumer can be affected most efficiently by feature story PR. It can have a major impact on shifting market share, which is far easier to accomplish during economic slowdowns when competitors are reducing their marketing efforts. 

It is amazing that industrial and high-tech companies who have fought so hard to build market share in an "up" market, will now abandon their efforts based upon a knee jerk reaction to a slackened economy. The few companies that expand their marketing in hard times then come in and snatch that market share away. These competitors emerge with sizably more market share after a downturn than before. 

Many of these competitors are smaller companies nipping at the heels of the market leaders. These leaders often complain of eroding market share in their product sectors due precisely to the steady chipping away by its smaller competitors. When a larger manufacturer cuts back on its marketing, such as during a recessed market, it presents an ideal opportunity for smaller competitors to accelerate their market-share usurpation process. 

What a smaller manufacturer lacks in market share can be counterbalanced with an enhanced positioning capability. This will open the door to a more effective shifting of audience viewpoint into its camp, with resultant conversion of market share.  

There is no faster way to shift the attitudes of an industrial or high-tech market segment than with a strong positioning broadly promoted through feature stories. Over a relatively short period of time this shift can create significant market share for any company or product, no matter what its size and no matter how sluggish the market.