Purpose - To examine how companies are affected by economic crises, to assess the effects of marketing strategies on company performance in such conditions, and to identify those that can help companies to maintain successful performance despite turbulence in the operational environment. Design/methodology/approach - A structured questionnaire contained questions relating to 21 marketing strategies, associated with the elements of the marketing mix, plus a "general marketing strategies" category. It was completed by 172 Turkish companies, drawn from a national frame of 1,000. Data were analysed by factor analysis, with performance criteria set as the dependent variable. Results are reported for each of the elements of the marketing mix. Findings - Companies that modify their strategies appropriately can maintain or improve their performance in times of crisis. Conclusions and recommendations identify the strategic changes most likely to achieve that outcome, measured mainly in terms of sales, market share and profitability. Research limitations/implications - Subjective measures of performance were used because of practical obstacles to obtaining objective financial data from the sample, which would have severely reduced the response rate. Future studies should include such data in the analysis. They might also cross-index findings by company size, industry sector and market scope, and take account of company resources and skills. Practical implications - The findings provide valuable insights for decision makers and marketing planners in times of economic crisis, specifically in the Turkish context but potentially in general. Originality/value - Adds a specific focus on marketing strategies to existing studies of general measures taken by companies during economic crises.