Archive for October, 2008

Well it’s official! The country is now in recession. The credit crunch, failure of major banks and unprecedented decline in the world economy have taken their toll and this cannot fail to have repercussions for all business in the UK. Times are hard and they will almost certainly get harder.

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Typically the first thing most businesses will do when money is tight is look at costs and try to cut back on unnecessary out-goings. Essentials such as premises and staff take priority, stock is often reduced, cost of sales items such as telephone calls and travel are cut back and everything else has to go. Unfortunately the marketing budget is invariably placed in the last category and is frequently curtailed completely. This is a fundamental mistake because in an environment where there are fewer customers with less to spend, it’s essential to make sure that your business gets noticed. You need the people who still have money to spend to come to you and not go to your competitors.

Of course, making savings where you can is the responsible thing to do and it is right to take a good look at your promotional activity. But the trick is to maximise the effects of your spending, avoid waste, focus your targeting and be sure you can see a return on your investment. Don’t just tread water and hope to stay afloat develop a marketing strategy to help your business survive the downturn. There are a number of ways to do this and here are a few suggestions that will help you in the business to business environment.

Above-the-line advertising should not be dismissed out of hand. I saw a report recently that indicated some businesses were actually increasing their budgets and doing more advertising to beat the downturn. If you do spend money on above-the-line activity the most important thing to be aware of is that the budget will be most effective if it is well targeted and this is even more critical when you have a smaller amount to spend. Don’t try to spread your spend too thinly; it is better to be seen regularly by fewer people than occasionally by many.

Select one or two key publications and concentrate all your activity on them. Find journals that have an authority in the market and develop a relationship with them. Plan your activity over a year (you will negotiate better deals and pay less for an ad if you buy a series) and see what other relevant marketing opportunities there are with the publications. They may publish a directory, run a mailing programme, produce product cards and offer on-line banners on their websites, all of which will help to maintain communication with the target audience.

If you don’t already make the most of Press Releases now is the time to do so. These offer an excellent way to build brand awareness by publicising your products or services and in most cases publications will not charge if they use your submission. Not only will you be getting free publicity, but editorial is regarded as more authoritative than advertising by many people. If you have very little money to spend this could be the answer. Again, you will need to develop a relationship with the key industry journals and send them well written copy and exciting, high quality images. Find out what editorial features are planned so you can make your submissions as relevant as possible and they will have more chance of being published. An ad in the same publication as editorial featuring your business can be really effective.

There are a lot more marketing activities that you can do on-line but I will go into that in another blog. For now, don’t wait and just hope your business will get through it, start marketing today and take positive steps to give yourself the very best chance to survive the recession.

For more information on effective marketing see our website: www.gcadvertising.co.uk

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