Marketing In A difficult Economy – Part I

economyAs a business owner, there is a great temptation to pull back and to reduce your footprint. Don’t. Now is the time to gain market share away from your competition because THEY are cutting budgets. Do become very smart about where you spend your money and how you will measure success.

The days of pure branding without thinking about return on investment are over. Marketing has become a business driver that is measured in dollars spent versus dollars gained. The only way to do that is to measure it. That means, every tactic you employ to stay in front of your customers should have a call to action that will allow you to count reactions.

Another integral part of an effective campaign is to turn your existing customers into advocates who talk about you online and offline to friends, business partners and family. In other words: activate word of mouth. It represents the highest conversion rate from prospect to customer, bar none (37%).

Large international conglomerates, such as AT&T and Dell have shifted their marketing dollars from mass media campaigns were ROI is difficult to measure to personalized loyalty and retention tactics. You are probably receiving several mail pieces a week in that category; they start with “Dear Paul, or Dear Mrs. Jones”. As a small business you can run circles around the big boys, so take advantage of your agility and in-depth knowledge of your customers. Find out where their issues lie and become their problem solver to where you are the only logical business to go to for their needs.

How can that be accomplished? By utilizing a mix of different online and offline marketing tactics. The rifle shot approach of one post card or one tradeshow will not yield the desired results. I’m willing to give that statement a 100% guarantee. If you don’t have a marketing plan – write one, or ask us to help you. Without a clear understanding of your goals, objectives, tactics and expected ROI you are driving in the dark on a moonless night and no headlights.

Depending on your industry, you should have an activity planned every single month. If your business is seasonal, you will ramp up your marketing in the weeks before the start of the season with steady reminders throughout your high-sales months.

Next: Specifics

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