Entrepreneurs seeking to grow a business in a stable economy face numerous challenges on any given day. Throw in an economic recession that is struggling to come out on the other side, and the challenges increase ten-fold. So what does this say about the future outlook for small business today?
Surprisingly it is not as bleak as it sounds. Small businesses actually hold the upper hand in this economy because they are flexible and easily adapt to changing environments. The key is learning where the opportunities are and how to capitalize on them.
Unfortunately, in a depressed economy the first area that takes a hit is marketing. When faced with dwindling revenues, non-revenue producing efforts are minimized. In reality, this is the time to beef up marketing efforts. That does not mean doubling or even tripling the marketing budget. It just means that firms need to take a more strategic approach to where and how their marketing dollars are being spent.
The cost of doing little to no marketing affects the growth of your company. History shows that companies that continue to market during a slow economy emerge stronger and quicker. Now is the perfect time to get in front of potential new customers and stay in front of your existing customers.
The new strategic marketing profile is one that offers affordability while remaining current and targeted. Let’s face it the changing economy is not the only driving factor behind a marketing campaign. Consumer and market changes are huge contributors as well. The facts remain:
- People are time starved, there are not enough hours in the day
- They’re constantly on the move and want information easily assessable through their mobile phones
- The old ways of marketing aren’t as affective as they used to be.
So, how do you choose?
- You need a plan that specifically targets your company’s core customer.
- You use marketing elements that deliver that target.
- Your company needs to be where people are searching and getting their information
In other words, you need a living, breathing campaign that adjusts to whatever the market throws its way. You need an A.C.T.I.V.E. Marketing Campaign. There are six elements to an A.C.T.I.V.E. Marketing Campaign.
- Affordable – Affordable does not necessarily mean the cheap. There are other factors to be considered when affordability is a headlining concern. Value is one component that speaks directly to price. Just because something is cheap does not mean it has value. It is important to understand that not everyone views “value” the same way, which speaks to the “Targeted” components of the A.C.T.I.V.E. Marketing solution.
- Current – Changes in what is effective in marketing programs today happen at the speed of light. Some marketing concepts and vehicles, such as FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter, are now finding strict competition from new emerging platforms like Pheed, Chirp and Vine. Older platforms like MySpace have fallen by the wayside. This progression shows how once-effective marketing tools can evolve, while others essentially disappear. It is important to remember that Technology is your friend. It is also an inexpensive way of reaching your target audience where they are quickly. Therefore, stay close to it and understand where the market is going. Just ask your kids…they always know what’s coming down the pike.
- Targeted – Understanding who your prospects and customers are is one thing, but knowing what they actually want and delivering is another. During economic turbulence, customers need reassurance and are most concerned about how you are going to meet their needs while minimizing risks. Therefore, marketing messages should be aligned with safety and risk avoidance. They should be easy to understand and customized to the reader.
- Integrated – I can’t tell you how many times I hear prospects tells me…”Oh I’ve tried Pay-Per-Click marketing before, or I’ve spent thousands on display advertising with no results. It’s just does not work”. When questioned as to how long they let the campaign run or what other aspects were incorporated into the campaign, they are at a loss for words. When small businesses are faced with having to market to drum up sales, they fall short of understanding what exactly it takes to get the train moving. It takes 7 to 13 touches before a sale can occur. Why would you entrust all of your marketing dollars to one vehicle that may or may not be the right one to reach your ideal prospect? Would you spend thousands of dollars on a print campaign to reach a target market that very seldom picks up a printed newspaper or magazine. Understanding where your audience is and how they get their information is critical to effective marketing.
- Versatile – Customization is key to providing value for your customers. Personalization is changing the way companies are marketing to their customers. Entrepreneurs are beginning to understand that one-size-fits-all campaigns might not be the most effective type of marketing. By personalizing campaigns for smaller subsets of your market audience, you can deliver more targeted messages based on that market’s specific interests, wants, and needs, resulting in a more rewarding return-on-investment.
- Evolving – Marketing campaigns take on a life of their own when they evolve. They lead the prospect or customer down the path to where you want them to go. These campaigns are designed to reinforce your position within your market. A good campaign follows a theme that includes a series of touches through an INTEGRATED approach. It’s noisy in the marketplace, and a message delivered once through a single vehicle rarely makes a difference. Many of these campaigns can be leveraged over an extended period of time and customized to tell an entire story.
DAVNA Enterprises specializes in building strategic Marketing programs that are A.C.T.I.V.E. For more information or to receive a copy of a full report on building a campaign for your company email email@example.com with the subject line “ACTIVE Marketing Campaign Report”. We will gladly send the reports out to you free of charge.
DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a Florida based firm specializing in the development and implementation of strategic operational, marketing and business development programs locally and internationally. Whether a new business starting out or an existing firm seeking increased market exposure, rebranding or repositioning, DAVNA brings more than 35 years of experience and the expertise needed to successfully develop and execute strategies designed to achieve your ultimate goals. For more information visit www.davna.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org