When times are tough most businesses eliminate or cut down expenses deemed to be non-essential. More often than not, the clean sweep includes marketing budgets and promotional activities seen by some as a luxurious extra. But for the enlightened business, targeted marketing becomes a focal point of its survival strategy – usually rewarding efforts with an increase in market share.
There’s a lot less money and a much tighter control on how those that have it will spend it . . . and with whom. So which lucky business is going to get that cash? Well, there’s little to do with luck in the answer and all to do with a savvy communications plan. In other words, the business that reaches out to business, keeping in touch with past clients, talking about new or enhanced products or services, finding out who’s interested in what and generally generating dialogue is the one more likely to secure a tenable future in the challenging months ahead.
But can this happen without spending a whole heap of money? Sure it can. Communicating with an audience in a meaningful manner and cultivating customer relationships should be a two-way process and businesses should be looking at more creative methods of engaging their customers. Whilst traditional advertisement placement in the media has a place in the marketing mix, it has its limitations when it comes to encouraging dialogue.
Consider applying resources to more targeted and direct marketing efforts. There are several ways to engage with an audience, but for now let’s explore Internet opportunities: create a more dynamic web site to encourage visitors to return frequently for industry news; set up a blog with an “insider’s” regular take on events; look at viral marketing and social networking marketing (chat rooms, blogs, social networking sites); drive traffic to your Internet portals – look at leveraging your database through segmentation and email marketing. The measurable result is in the customer response to the message that your business is open for business.