I have to believe that just about every marketer (maybe except those in the green energy industry) are being ask to cut back, become more efficient, and more effective with their spend. I know we are always asked to do that , but this time it’s serious. It hasn’t been this serious since the 2001 Dot Com bust.
So what are you doing about it? TopRanked Online Marketing recently ran a poll where they had over 400 business marketers respond to the question “What three internet marketing tactics will you emphasize in the next 6 months? Here are the results of the poll:
- Search engine optimization (36%, 149 Votes)
- Blogging (33%, 134 Votes)
- Pay per click (26%, 107 Votes)
- Email marketing (22%, 89 Votes)
- Social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn) (21%, 86 Votes)
- Blogger relations/blog PR (14%, 56 Votes)
- Microblogging (Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku) (11%, 47 Votes)
- Affiliate marketing (11%, 47 Votes)
- Advertorial (NewsForce, AdFusion) (10%, 40 Votes)
- Video marketing (7%, 29 Votes)
Not surprisingly, the top three are all related to getting more optimized search rankings. If I can improve my organic search (i.e move up my page position and keywords in various search engines) I can investment less in non-organic search i.e pay per click, and potentially attract more inquires overall. Truth be told these all seem like top priorities in any business environment, recession or not.
What else should we be thinking about? After living through the Dot Com experience I thought I would share my Top Ten actions for recession marketing.
1. You will live or die within your customer base: In times of economic uncertainty, when budgets are getting cut back, people buy from who they know. This means you’ve got to engage with the customer base more frequently and deeply than ever before. Might be a good time to start a customer community or referral program.
2. Customer marketing content becomes king: Content relating to customer ROI, success stories, problems solved etc becomes vital to your messaging success and sales support.
3. TCO & ROI are Mandatory: Understand how you reduce your total cost of ownership and what the ROI is for your solutions, and quantify these. See point # 3.
4. Measure Everything: Know what works, and what doesn’t, and stop what doesn’t.
5. Invest in Communications: Communications becomes a high ROI tactic in tough times. Use it! Make sure your PR firm is using all the social media tools at your disposal to get your message out. To this end if you don’t have a PR firm then start a twitter page, start a blog, brand a You Tube channel, and develop some viral content. Its low cost and it works.
6. Data is king. For push marketing make sure you have good enriched customer data so you can segment by multiple criteria. The more targeted you get, the more effective your message and conversation. In answer to your next question, Yes we still need some old school push marketing. I would not bet my career on hoping my blog generates business in a recession.
7. Use the phone. If you have a good inside prospecting and customer database and have access to tele-sales/marketing (insoruce or out) use it to keep engaged with customers. Work with sales to programatize blitz days, identify reasons to call, prospect within your database, and use your calling resources to do the initial selling before handing off to outside sales people (could lower your cost of sale). Be careful where you use tele in the demand funnel. Note I said “inside prospecting database”. Pure outbound cold calling is very expensive, and not very effective unless your value proposition is incredible.
8. Stay close with sales. You’re in this boat together and you will either join forces or sink. Work with sales; understand what is and what is not working. Develop strong joint measures.
9. Have a Strategy. Strategy is about sacrifice and if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. If you have no priority then you will sprinkle your marketing dollars all over the place and have no impact. No impact says good bye to your job in the next round of cost cuts. Ask the hard questions. Is segment x more important that segment y? Is Country B more important that Country C?
10. If you have “Social Media Strategist” as a Title change it: Call yourself marketing, customer marketing, installed base marketing etc. Most management is old school and unless you can show revenue generation coming from Twitter then reposition yourself closer to revenue generation.
I’m sure there are lots of ideas about marketing in a recession. Please share a few as I could use all the help I can get. Nuff said.