Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned growth industries, have actually stopped growing. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed, or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.
How do you get the most for your marketing investments?
We all know that you cannot grow your business without marketing, and that you must continue to market in order to survive and many of your executives make the decision to cut your marketing budget. It's a battle every marketer faces, and as many markets and industries struggle to recover and some to survive, this challenge is not going to disappear any time soon.
So what are you going to do? Your budgets are small and will probably remain small, but you have to fulfil the boardroom expectations of an excellent return on marketing Rands invested. So instead of cutting back, it is in your interest to closely examine your current marketing activities and develop an approach or a few approaches to maximise your ROI, while maintaining a strong hold on expenditure by simply looking at the basics.
Get better results from better planning
Narrow your Focus: Segment your customer database and go after your profitable customers. The list may be smaller, but much more manageable and will create a higher ROI.
Narrow your Message: Look at what the message should be for the customer who wants to know "How are you going to solve my real-world problem?" "What's in it for me, and are you satisfying my needs?" This is the trigger than will get your customer to react and respond.
Target smaller groups with strong tactics: Have sufficient information on these smaller groups - know your customer - and target them with in-depth personalised, but innovative tactics that will guarantee that you get their attention and 'access' to your share of their wallets.
Integrate your marketing efforts across less expensive and more effective channels: Marketers in the know - are finding ways to adjust their media plans - in creative ways - to reach their target markets and achieving their financial goals.
Follow-up and through: Develop effective follow-up plans around each of the channels that you are using. Many studies show that it is often the follow-up reminder that draws the crowd and where the highest results are coming from.
Diamonds in your own back yard: Your best potential revenue stream might very well be your current revenue stream.
Use your own people - where possible and only when necessary: Often you have skilled people within your company that can assist with the 'running around or gathering of information" that otherwise would cost much more if outsourced.
Your agency is your best ally: As a team, plan an efficient and cost- effective blueprint that allows for seamless collaboration.
Know your sales cycle: Ensure that you take into consideration your sales cycle when you plan your marketing activities. If these are not in sync, you could have a disaster on your hands.
The cardinal rule in marketing
I am often asked by my clients, students and colleagues, "What is the most important question you need to ask in planning your marketing strategy and activities?"
Bob Hemming - a seasoned and well-respected direct marketer gives us the answer and calls it his cardinal rule to make direct marketing work better for you.
Establish your Objective. Set one single, simple, and clear objective for each promotion. Be specific; decide the exact number of leads, orders, inquiries or responses you want. Be realistic: does your budget match your objective? Are you spending the right amount of money to match your objective? And can you accurately measure results so you can take corrective action up or down by your doubling day?
The reason behind this rule: If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. When you set a goal, you establish a target at which to shoot. I walked into a bar in a western town and noticed a wall covered with targets and bullet holes drilled into the bull's-eye on every one. I remarked to the bartender what a deadeye shot the marksman was. To which he replied, "Naw, he ain't so good. He shoots a hole in the wall and then draws a target around it."
In your direct marketing activities, are you drawing targets around your results, or are you targeting results?
And remember that people don't read advertising, they read what interests them - and sometimes that just happens to be advertising. This is an observation made by Howard Gossage, an advertising wizard of the 1950's.
These forgotten vendors, sometimes more correctly called 'providers,' often bear the brunt of a campaign planner's bad planning or miscommunication.
Audits are being done all the time within many companies across most departments to identify problems, opportunities and in some instances, the irresponsible or 'not accountable' behaviour of management and their staff.
We are often asked how we survive the hubbub of our every day business activities, the changing economy and building a balanced life. Simple! It is through our business model of 'collaboration' and support, building trusted partnerships with all our valuable customers, service providers, business colleagues, friends and family. And keeping an 'open door' policy - you never know who will walk in.
Companies now have to deal with many more Customer Contact Points (CCP's) and channels than they did just 5 years ago. While this creates more opportunities to reach your customers, it also makes it easier for them to defect, increasing the pressure on marketers to build relationships that last. It is important to know that each point of contact with your customer is a 'Moment of Truth.'