The AAMA has created a very interesting document that is of value to arcade operators and soon-to-be operators alike – something that deals with making money during a recession. Can such a thing be done? Absolutely, as there are people who make fortunes in recessions.And one thing that the AAMA recommends is marketing. They take a look at certain recessions since 1970 and come to the conclusion that companies that maintain an aggressive marketing posture can also maintain profitablity through and after the recession, so they recommend not cutting back on your marketing budget, if you have one. If you don’t have one then make one! Relying solely on word of mouth where you cannot control the message about your business is a poor way to get people through the door on a day-to-day basis.
The article does offer some suggestions abotu marketing, such as monitoring competitors and their marketing, avoid gimmicks, stress benefits and spend carefully (i.e. efficiently) but some of the venues I suggest you consider for getting the message out include: direct mailing (usually coupon deals), phone book ads, flyers, street signs (like political signs but with your message on them), Facebook, Myspace or other social networking sites, online ads with a local news station website, press releases for major events (hold tournaments), your own website, newspaper ads (some are getting desparate as revenues fall, they might offer good deals) and of course if you have the money, radio and TV advertising. You can also consider doing something with other local businesses – trading flyers, coupons, whatever. I have something like that going on with two game stores in the mall I am located at and it has helped.
Personally I think that part of it is having ‘nerves of steel’ – if you panic every time you hear the news media talk about recession then the stress will damage your health. I find it better to not pay much attention to them, I think of the quote/joke that “the media has correctly predicted two out of the last ninety-seven recessions” meaning that they always overhype and exagerate conditions that aren’t necessarily a recession. Of course right now the indicators seem to be pointing that direction but I’ve been hearing the recession drum beat since early 2007 as though some people have been begging for one so I’m always a little skeptic until results of the GDP are in. Either way, I think that the AAMA has given some good advice on the subject and I personally understand that it can be difficult to come up with cash if you are struggling but as they say, you have to spend money to make money.