When the economy gets tough there is a tendency for companies to slash their marketing budgets to improve short term profitability. But why is this when our most successful companies continue to pursue a clear marketing strategy and run carefully planned communications during a recession?

Christopher Lamotte at the marketing consultants, Real Marketing Specialists, says:

“Too often businesses don’t make their limited marketing budgets work hard enough; during a downturn, continuing to pursue a clear marketing strategy and running ongoing campaigns of focused promotion should be seen as the key to short term survival and is essential for long term success.

“Research consistently confirms that cutting marketing budgets makes companies and their brands emerge from a downturn weaker and less profitable. In fact, maintaining or increasing marketing spend, as well as developing new products during a recession, helps businesses win customers from weaker competitors and increase their market share.”

Real Marketing advises small and medium sized businesses to invest in marketing and consider doing some of the activities below:

1. Develop cost effective communication tools and campaigns which reflect the image you want to project, and are focused on raising awareness and generating sales. These could include:

  • Improving the packaging up (or ‘productizing’) of services to make them easier to sell by defining processes more clearly, creating high impact literature and improving your website.
  • Finding ways to improve products, services and customer care.
  • Using creative design to make your business and your products stand out.
  • Using free editorial and PR to raise awareness, differentiate the business and run promotions and competitions. Developing paid for ‘advertorial’ is also a good option, sometimes overlooked.
  • Considering referral schemes to turn satisfied customers into your sales force.
  • Improving your customer and prospect database then embarking on creatively designed, personalised mailshots and email campaigns, ideally followed up on the phone.
  • Targeting existing customers and former customers (particularly those in strong market sectors and with most potential) before looking for new customers. Please note that winning new business from companies and consumers you already have relationships with is more likely to be successful and is less expensive than trying to win new customers.
  • Developing sales promotions that add value and increase volume and loyalty, rather than result in excessive discounting.
  • Improving your website to ensure it really captures your selling messages and is properly ‘search engine optimized’ to improve search engine rankings.
  • Extending your online marketing with listings on internet portals, reciprocal links back to your website, high quality email newsletters and low cost, measurable, search engine marketing.

2. If you do not already have a clear marketing strategy, you should start this process by creating a short strategic marketing plan with a focus on actions and deadlines, after…:

  • Reviewing the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy and promotional tools and activities.
  • Undertaking competitor, customer and prospect research to establish how the business compares and can be improved.

Contact Christopher Lamotte or ask for a free Website & Marketing Review or to discuss your marketing challenges.

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