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Navigate Downturns: 10 Steps to Elevate Marketing Effectiveness

Published July 2, 2009

Ten Steps In Increase Marketing Effectiveness (Whether it's an Economic Downturn Or Not!)


1. Be Dominant: Many studies show that companies which slow marketing spending lose out now, as well as after a recovery. You want your customers to know that they’ve picked a winner, and your prospects to know you’ll survive – and thrive – in tough times as well as good.

2. Audit Your Brand: Does your company or product brand accurately reflect who you are… and who you want to be? Is what you say you stand for believable – and important to your target audience? Make sure the brand you go forward with is the right one, and put systems in place to maintain its value. A consistent experience, a single “voice” and the way you communicate your brand in other ways is critical. If you are like most companies, your brand is the most valuable intangible asset your company owns. Improve it, and protect it.

3. Reevaluate Your Product and Service Mix: Are there ways you can repackage existing products or services in ways that can provide more value? Or, develop a product or service line that can accommodate smaller clients or customers with reduced budgets? Ask your customers – they’ll be happy to help.

4. Embrace Your Database: Your current database probably houses former customers and prospects, as well as current customers and suppliers. Now’s the time to go after them. Reactivate dormant accounts and leads with new products, promotions and services. Also, contact current customers for referrals. Give them ideas they can use to help their business in the current economy, and they’ll be happy to pass you on to others who could benefit from your knowledge.

5. Measure your Return on Marketing Investment: The problem with many marketing efforts is the inability of management to ascertain what really works, and why. That’s why smart marketers always measure outcomes so they know exactly where to invest for the greatest return. The more you test and measure, the more relevant data you’ll get. And the more data you get – and analyze – the smarter your marketing will get.

6. Cost Controls: Controlling cost does not mean cutting cost. It means being smarter with the budget you do have, and wringing greater value from every dollar you invest in your marketing program. Closely related to Marketing ROI, controlling costs allows you to invest your money where it drives the greatest revenue.

7. Launch a Targeted, Integrated New-Business Campaign: Now is a great time to launch a customer acquisition campaign. Set specific goals, tighten-up cost controls, and strive to sell product and build brand. Target your best customer segments through an integrated campaign across different media (including social media and other online tactics) leveraging results-driven direct-marketing and customer engagement strategies.

8. Reevaluate Your Marketing Service Relationships: Are you totally satisfied with your marketing or PR agencies? What about strategic marketing counsel? Do you have a Social Media agency, or an expert on-staff? There are lots of smart practitioners out there, and many may be able to give you greater insight, higher levels of service, and greater value for your investment.

9. Enhance the Customer Experience: Do you provide “bullet proof” customer service? The cost of getting new customers is much higher than getting more business from existing customers. Each customer you lose is taking money out of your pocket over time. By improving customer experience – with a focus you’ll boost awareness, acquisition, loyalty and retention.

10. Increase Customer Insights: The more you know about your customers, the more accurately you can target brand and marketing messages to address their specific needs. To do this, marketing executives need to get down in the trenches. What do your prospects and customers want or need, and why? From voice-of-the-customer research to tracking your brand’s online reputation, it’s easier to gather real-time data – and act on it – than ever before.