Intelligent Marketing When Times are Tough
Tuesday, 7th July 2009
Making budgets work harder
How businesses manage and promote their services and products through a downturn is critical to their success or failure. In every recession there are winners and losers and those businesses that can identify opportunities and have the confidence and foresight to capitalise upon them will be the ones to succeed.
Marketing budgets have to work harder to provide the level of communication, promotion and response that will allow businesses to seize the opportunities that are still available. Integrating marketing activity in a coordinated and intelligent way will help to provide cost savings and ensure that the right marketing techniques are fully utilised in achieving the desired result, making marketing more efficient, effective and quantifiable.
Intelligent and efficient marketing is essential in a recession; waste is not tolerated and results are vital.
Essential tips for marketing in a downturn
Marketing in a downturn is a difficult business; experience, knowledge, intelligence and innovation will play a big role in whether a company succeeds or fails.
Having helped businesses to market their products and services through the last two recessions The Think Tank has the knowledge and experience to provide intelligent and insightful advice on marketing in a recession. Below are some of the ways in which marketers can optimise budgets, see a return on investment and, ultimately, be a winner in a downturn. We hope that you find them useful:
1. ‘Dare to be different’
Differentiation is essential in a downturn; providing the market with a product or service that is better, smarter or different from that of the competition. Give your customers a reason to choose your products and services, maximising your opportunities and helping to maintain your sales revenues. However, you still have to communicate that difference or you will be lost in the crowd. Communicating what sets you apart in your sector is vital in a market where competition will be fierce.
2. ‘Never the twain shall meet’
Sales and Marketing coordination should be the focus for every business in a downturn. Business processes are essential in ensuring that every opportunity is capitalised upon, and this means that sales and marketing teams have to work together.
In many large organisations Sales and Marketing departments fail to communicate with each other efficiently and compete for limited resources to the detriment of capitalising upon opportunities. In a downturn they have to work together towards a common goal, focussing upon achieving every sale possible. Mutual support is the only way that budgets can be optimised, reducing waste and making the most out of limited resources.
Team building and improved communication will ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction. Each department needs a better understanding of what the other does to improve the support they provide each other and allow opportunities to be identified.
Disconnected Sales and Marketing departments create a duplication of work, poor efficiencies and an organisation going in two directions. They need to listen to each other to optimise the success of the business.
3. ‘Lowest hanging fruit’
The easiest source of business, and the most cost effective to acquire, will be from existing customers.
Communication is essential in maintaining these customers, whether through sales team contact, direct marketing, newsletters or eshots. Keeping them in touch with your business will ensure that you are at the forefront of their minds when they need your services or products.
Encouraging loyalty may also be appropriate through loyalty programmes and incentive activity. A cost effective way of growing purchases from a customer is encouraging them to brand switch. It’s amazing what customers will do for an iPod or a weekend away! A loyalty programme gives them another reason to buy from you, rather than from your competition.
4. ‘On top of your game’
In a downturn you need to be ahead of the game, analysing the market and how your customers are reacting to current conditions. Being able to react quickly and decisively in a rapidly changing marketplace will keep you one step ahead of your competition.
Companies have to be dynamic in their approach to market conditions, beating their competition at every turn and ensuring that they maximise the opportunities created by a fast moving economy.
Marketing strategies have to be flexible and adaptable. How quickly you can adapt and how you combine marketing tactics and media will determine how effective your strategy is and the impact it has upon sales.
5. ‘Mix it up’
Integration of marketing techniques is crucial in a recession. Every penny has to be spent to best effect and have an impact. Looking at ways to make budgets work harder is the first thing that any marketer should do.
The digital revolution has changed the way we approach marketing. Media fragmentation has complicated matters for marketers, whilst also providing many new opportunities and cost efficiencies that allow budgets to work harder and provide more accountability.
Optimising budgets through intelligent and precise integration of marketing activities allows companies to target audiences at several levels and through various media. It is how you mix media disciplines and the language and tone that you use that will make the difference.
A combination of techniques, including direct marketing, digital media, incentives and PR, helps to reinforce messages and convey information to very specific audiences, optimising budgets and providing measurable results.
Digital media will be an important element of most campaigns during this downturn, but it cannot work on its own. Online advertising, eMarketing and web sites will provide fast and reactive marketing routes for most organisations, whilst being able to provide immediate information in a digital format will help to improve customer relationships and perceptions.
However, digital marketing does not hold all the answers and it needs to be combined with more traditional marketing media to achieve best results. The intelligent part is how you combine this media and what messages you communicate.
6. ‘The proof is in the pudding’
Budgets are always a difficult topic for marketers but never more so than in a downturn. Demonstrating return on investment and results will be a critical factor in securing and maintaining budgets.
A targeted integrated approach allows the marketer to be specific about how the budget is used and what it is to achieve. Results are measurable if the right response mechanisms are put in place and the inclusion of digital marketing techniques provide a very immediate and identifiable result that can help to support budget justification going forward.
If you can demonstrate the effect of the marketing in a tangible way then securing budgets becomes a much easier process.
Recessions are tough on everyone, however a smart business can see their way through a downturn and come out stronger on the other side.
Marketing has to be smarter, leaner, targeted and more flexible to achieve best results, with all activity working together and more efficiently to achieve the desired return on investment. Integrated campaigns are essential in providing targeted and coordinated activities that communicate with potential customers at various levels, maximising awareness, engagement and results.
Businesses have to be dynamic and reactive to survive in a downturn, looking for new and better ways to communicate with potential customers and secure their business. It is those that have the vision and ability to capitalise on the opportunities that will succeed, whilst their competition are left behind.
If you would like to know more about The Think Tank and how we can make your budgets work harder with great results contact Liam Bateman on 020 7831 2225 or email email@example.com.