Friday, August 20, 2010
3:12 pm pdt
When economic conditions deteriorate, companies often cut back on
marketing activities to reduce expenses, but many experienced business managers view these times as opportunities to gain
market share. When competitors reduce marketing initiatives, forward thinking companies are able to improve marketplace position,
and benefit further due to the decrease in inherent ambient advertising “noise.” This has the benefit of making
messages to customers more apparent and clearer. Cutting back on expensive traditional advertising in favor of more cost-effective
online marketing will enhance success.
Your Messages Relevant
business professionals understand the importance of sending messages to customers that are specifically meant for them. In
this electronic age of marketing, many customers are bombarded with marketing pitches that have absolutely no relevance to
their business, and are therefore immediately trashed. Although all highly trained marketing professionals recognize the unquestionable
importance and benefit of “one-to-one” marketing, many still struggle with creating relevant messages. To save
time, they tend to stick to “one-size-fits-all” messages. Investing in the time and effort to organize customer
databases, and coincidently develop and send messages for improved relevance will yield significant benefits.
Move Email to the Forefront
Making email a priority in your marketing program is of critical importance because of the low expense
and also because it generates excellent results. An email program’s ability to speak more to individuals rather than
crowds can be a key element of success during poor economic conditions. Sophisticated marketing professionals understand that
the power of email lies in its ability to build long-term, personalized relationships with customers.
Use Social Media
Social networking sites like FaceBook and MySpace continue to experience extensive use, and members are spending
increasingly more time logged-on. During challenging economic times, many business professionals opt for these resources to
stay connected with clients, over traditional meeting venues such as restaurants and bars, with similar networking results
and at essentially no cost. Blogs, forums and chat rooms connect customers to one another and to your business, and videos
and other media can provide opportunities for “viral marketing” to spread your message. Their true value lies
in their effectiveness at “word-of-mouth” messaging through social channels, creating higher resonance in the
market than can be obtained via traditional marketing.
Employ Multiple Marketing Channels
incorporates multiple customer “touch points” into a marketing campaign to deliver an effectively persistent approach
that compounds and reinforces the message. Successful multi-channel programs often
use email to launch a campaign, for follow-up with a phone call or direct mail. Coordinating messages from one channel to
another can exponentially increase the effectiveness of each.
Take Care of Your Current Customers
During difficult economic times, your best customers are often your current customers because many business
professionals are less likely to take risks with new companies, preferring to stay with trusted service providers.
And, acquiring new customers is more costly than keeping the ones you already have. Focus on serving the needs of existing
customers. This sends a strong message into the marketplace that your company has staying power and is committed to a long-term
business mission. When you take special care of your current customers, your competitors will have to employ more aggressive
and costly measures to try to and take your market share.
Challenging economic conditions require more than ever that you keep your messages personalized and
relevant. Savvy professionals shift marketing dollars away from more expensive traditional advertising media and direct marketing,
in favor of Internet-based media platforms such as email and social networks. It is important to employ interactive multiple
marketing channels via email and social networking to reinforce each of their one-to-one messaging capabilities, and to establish
powerful relationships with your customers. Don’t forget to take special care of your current customers, as they are
the foundation of your business and will help you weather the economic storm. Seasoned business managers view these times
as opportunities to gain market share, so don’t cut back on your marketing efforts, but redeploy those efforts for greater
effectiveness. Remember, ultimately you must “grow to be great.” You can’t cut your business to greatness.