When economic downturn hits, the first line of spending to be cut in the vast majority of businesses is the marketing tools. And when this happens, we often watch businesses that are in a tough position, slide into a worse position, as they are hit by a slow economy, and then by declining awareness. Think about it – even in the tough times it is vital that potential consumers are aware your business offering exists!
As a marketing strategist, one of the first things I tell my clients during downturn, or if they are a start-up and lacking capital – don’t cut marketing tools completely, just use a smaller budget more effectively. These days, it’s easy to look at all your marketing options and see how you could spend an absolute fortune drenching the market with your brand and message. But do you really need to?
Do you need that back full page ad in the country’s biggest paper? Will your brand really benefit that much more from a prime time television ad? By all means, if you have the financial backing to create a plan that hits potential consumers from every angle, do it. But if not, think about what you really need to ensure consumers know you exist.
And this is often the first question I get from clients when we discuss strategy, ‘What do we really need and what can we cut back on?’ Like any service provider, it’s one of those questions that can make you cringe, but today, with fluctuating consumer confidence and that air of concern still circulating, it is more than valid. So what do you cut and what do you need?
Looking at what is available today, and most consumer behavior, there are three areas you should spend your money if your budget is particularly low. These will ensure firstly that you actually have something to say and that it is relevant, concise and of interest. Secondly, they will cover your bases, ensuring that despite your low budget, you maintain a presence and can be found, remembered and recalled. Finally, they will give you the opportunity to stay interactive with your market, and influence their thought process. So here are the basics:
First and foremost, as a new business, or an old one that is tired and worn out, invest in your brand – it is your first impression. Work on knowing what you want to become and what you want to represent, and refresh casino spiel your logo and its application so it is reflective. If your logo is poor, out-of-date or meaningless, there is no point in further spend on other means of promotion.
While the digital age has firmly taken grip, print collateral is certainly not dead – especially in a sales environment. If yours is a business that involves a lot of face-to -face interaction with clients, give them something tangible they can take with them. Whether it’s a smart business card, or a concise, clean and graphically unique brochure or postcard, it will create a strong impression and add to your chances of recall.
The third tool is also definitely a necessity. These days, your business website is as much your shop front as… your shop front. Would you open your shop every day with a worn out paint job and drab, tired appearance? No! So similarly, don’t let your website convey an unprofessional brand message. In addition to making sure you have the essentials on the site, invest just slightly more and jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon. Having a blog, forum or even wall to post on brings your brand up to date. It also introduces a new level of communication and interaction, enables you to manage customer service on a whole new level, and simply, keeps you in touch with customers or clients during the times when they don’t have the confidence to do business. It’s as easy as linking out to your profile on a social media site, and the cost is next to nothing.