It surprises me that a series of breaking news reports we published in our Woodworking Network Update and our Web site in January continue to stir responses from woodworking professionals.

The stories broke the news that some major machinery companies had decided not to exhibit at this year’s International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Since January we have received dozens of phone calls, e-mails, comments posted on our Web site and guest blogs. Obviously, these industry professionals have a vested interest in IWF and strong opinions as to what is the best course of action during these rough economic times.

Today, I would like to share a letter I received from an industry supplier. It stems from a phone conversation about IWF, but as you will read, it covers a lot of other marketing activities, as well.

The bottom line advice from the supplier is this: Now is not the time to cut back. Whether it's exhibiting at IWF, product development or advertising, your company needs to stay active to be ready for the better times that are coming.

The author has requested his name be withheld but I can personally vouch to his credibility and his claims about his company’s activities.

Here’s the letter in its entirety.

“A lot of companies think the sky is falling when a recession comes. They stick their collective heads in the sand and wait for the worst to blow over. Hunker down and tough it out is their mantra … chop people, chop budgets, chop development, chop, chop, chop!

“Smart marketers realize a recession is a time to grow, a time to develop new products, a time to develop new markets and a time to get positioned so when the recession does blow over, they are ready to take off. It may seem like a bold decision to forge ahead when all others are taking shelter, but time and again, those risk-takers are rewarded.

“That is why it was discouraging to read of companies pulling out of IWF. Those are the head-in-the-sand companies. Smart firms take a larger booth space. Yes, the crowd is down in numbers, but those attending are serious buyers looking for the latest and greatest. The party animals of two or three years ago are gone now, the ones looking to develop themselves, their clients, their product offerings, are there. And they are buying … what you are selling.

“In my mind it is penny-wise and pound-foolish to pull in the reins. My company is presently developing in excess of 30 products which we will be introducing this year. We are taking larger booth spaces at trade shows. We are expanding our advertising and marketing. We are exploring new markets, new outlets. We are adding staff. This is our fourth recession in the three decades we’ve been in business. We stared down every one of them and came out of each recession far better than we went in.

“I would encourage others to do the same. Believe me, it will all work out!”

Let us know if you agree or disagree.

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