OK, you just got the news that your budget has been cut in half this year and your company is/will continue to announce layoffs.
The sales department is under tremendous amounts of pressure and you can feel the weight of responsibility on your shoulders to help fill the pipeline. Happy Holiday.
Chances are there is no federal bailout for you; however, you do have a job and a budget to work with. Count yourself fortunate. So what the marketing plan you spent all of October crafting is now out the window.
The beauty of your situation is you are positioned to be a hero, a new media hero, creating more sales opportunities, gaining market share and fortifying your brand in the most challenging of times.
How? Well by getting creative for starters. Not to be preachy but it is time to start paying attention. The recession no doubt will cause many, if not most B2B companies to rethink their marketing spend and respond with knee-jerk budget cuts.
The good news is that many marketers are lazy, so instead of new ideas, there will be fewer insertions on the old media schedule and fewer trade show commitments to make up for lost budget dollars. Unfortunately, less activity equals fewer opportunities, which means reduced sales. Talk about exposure.
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The secret to marketing success (and job security) in a recession is more effective activity in a downturn to capitalize on the vacuum created by lazy marketers with fewer budget dollars.
First thing, get your website fixed. It isn’t easy, but getting creative with your website and adding video to define your value proposition is a lot more effective than a “call for more information” advertisement or an expensive brochure.
Yes, you may have had your website recently upgraded from the dinosaur it was, but if your website isn’t designed as a professional sales tool complete with specific calls-to-action and meaningful content that defines a clear value proposition then get it fixed. And get it visible! (Psst. It is a lot less expensive than you think).
If you have to make cuts and you need to increase sales I’d get to work on your web presence. Now.
Speaking of work, it is time to make up for lost impressions on the ad front with public relations. As your competition pulls back, get in front of your market as a thought leader with interactive PR. I’m not talking about simple press releases and blips on which companies are buying whom. I’m talking roll-up the sleeves media outreach, articles, speaking engagements, bylines, viral videos, testimonials, case studies, white papers, blogs- on the web and in front of your buyers. This is PR that is archived and searchable and drives prospects to your (new and improved) website.
This type of results-driven PR is not the “project by project let me check PR off my list of things to do” PR. This is an ongoing program, let me find a way to get new pickups, PR. This is the type of PR you are squeezing every ounce of worth out of the agency fee each month. Interactive PR delivers your company’s message and builds your brand. It is the news your market, your boss, and your competition is talking about around both the breakfast table and the boardroom table.
Your buyers probably have less money to buy with as well in a recession but fortunately for you, B2B marketer, business keeps on chugging even when the going gets tough. That is why creative advertising is still something to keep on the list however you may need to rethink your media spend. Make up for lost budget dollars with online marketing. Try a 50/50 mix of online and print as far as frequency (not costs. You should get more mileage with online insertions than print).
Online advertising should be coupled with dynamic landing pages and backed by a sound website. As with everything, content is king, so get creative with your print and online messaging and format. Rich media, animation, video and advergames draw greater click-through responses and interactive landing pages and websites net higher lead counts than their static counterparts.
All of this activity online comes at a fraction of the cost of materials spent on collateral and other traditional marketing tools. Wait until next year for the new tradeshow booth and brochure revisions if you can. And if you aren’t savvy on new media, get help. It is a lot less expensive than you think and it is very effective if done right. The result is a lot more bang for fewer bucks, and securing your position as the hero that lead the way through a tough economy.
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