One of the biggest mistakes any company can make in challenging economic times is to severely cut back (or worse yet, stop) their marketing efforts. One of my favorite quotes is from Peter Drucker:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
As the distinguishing element of any business, your marketing message is the main point to communicate your brand. In today’s economy, it’s often difficult to keep your marketing efforts moving forward at a pace that keeps your brand relevant, and moving into new economies.
So what are the basic steps every brand must continue to survive, and even thrive today?
1. Contact and engage your existing customer base. It’s more than easy to understand that you best opportunity for stability and sales lives within those that already believe strongly in your brand. Within those loyal customers reside new sales opportunities, and most importantly, a strong base of customers you cannot afford to take for granted. Sure…you’ve heard this before…but really…what are you actually doing about it?
Don’t forget the 20/80 rule: 20% of customers provide 80% of sales. Reach out to them. Thank them for their patronage, and offer them something to meet their needs in their own challenging times. While you’re at it, take this opportunity to meet with them in person to express your loyalty face-to-face. You’ll learn what is happening with them, and establish and even deeper brand relationship. Ask them what you should focus your efforts on to make your product or service even better for them. Then do it.
2. Give customers economical solutions and options. You know it – times are hard for everyone now, and that includes your customers. Show them that you have an option that takes current economic challenges into account. Empathize with them, and provide them with alternatives through your products or services. Wouldn’t you want them to find a way to buy them from you? Make sure you have options that make sense, and promote them.
3. Most importantly… Network, Baby, Network! You can understand there are clients that simply can’t afford to enter your market now. This isn’t permanent in our business cycles – so take the time to meet new people while they’re looking for the same new connections. When the economy does return, you’ll be well positioned to take advantage of the new business you’ve developed. Keep your T.O.M.A. (Top Of Mind Awareness) level up. Show up…meet… introduce – now is not the time to be shy.
Social media marketing provides a great set of cost-effective opportunities to expand your reach into new markets with a minimal expense – a good position to consider that can have far reaching, lasting effect on your brand and its value.
These aren’t simply “hard time strategies”, they should be part of everyone’s marketing efforts in good times and bad. Believe that our current challenges are temporary, and when the markets return to a normal pace of growth and expansion, you’ll be stronger, and more prepared to take full advantage of the new economy.