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Marketing Tactics

What Should You Cut First When Times Are Tough?

Times are tough, sales are down, is marketing the best way to spend scarce cash?

Ed Hatton

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The economy is limping along and lower sales means having to save costs. The marketing budget is a tempting target for cuts. Developing the company and product brands is a long-term investment, and it’s difficult to show returns on expenditure.

Even lead generating marketing has a time lag between spending marketing funds and bringing in cash from sales. Cost cutting is usually driven by accountants who may have little understanding of customer needs or branding.

Should you cut marketing expenditure? Only as a last resort to ensure survival and then for a defined time, otherwise emphatically no. There are better ways to cut costs. See the July 2016 My Mentor column in Entrepreneur ‘Cutting Costs.’

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that cutting marketing spend in a recession is a seriously bad idea.

Related: 7 Creative Strategies For Marketing Your Start-up On A Tight Budget

A Wall Street Journal study of the last recession showed that companies that cut back on marketing lost sales and market share, while those that held their marketing increased profits compared to those that reduced marketing.

Repeated studies going as far back as the Great Depression have shown the same results. Savings you make from reduced marketing may be more than wiped out by lower sales. You need every sale and every customer you can get in these times.

Some studies have shown that it even pays to increase marketing in bad times. Recessions can be a great time to go on the offensive, to grab customers and market share from competitors.

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Efficient marketing

This is the time to get the best effect from every Rand you spend on marketing. Focus on issues that will help your customers to save money, like low maintenance costs, productivity gains, product longevity, and low cost of ownership. Fortunately we live in an age where many marketing options are cheap, easy to use and have measurable outcomes.

Do a multi-pronged approach, with all marketing reinforcing the same messages. Choose your media wisely so you will be seen by key decision-makers in your target markets.

You do not need to change all your marketing campaigns, but do review them and replace ineffective campaigns with more efficient ones. One example of an inexpensive marketing promotion includes a modern website that people see and linger on. This an inexpensive necessity. Check how many people visit your site and how long they stay, then improve those results.

Use Internet banner advertising to add to your database of people who have shown interest and then market to them by making offers directing them to special purpose landing pages. Use email or telesales.

Build your brand with low cost sponsorships or by hosting events with reputable guest speakers. Write thought-provoking articles for the press, a blog or social media to establish credibility. Employ an intern to do the administration for all these ideas and gather information.

The power of repeat sales

Do not ignore your customers. They are potentially your best market for additional business and must be pampered and communicated with to prevent them moving to competitors. Make sure they know all the products and services you offer, and how they can use your products to boost their own sales.

Related: Guru Ed Hatton on Marketing On A Tiny Budget

Special campaigns for customers only can be communicated via closed user groups on the Internet, readable and useful newsletters or personal contact and telephone. Announce special offers and bundled prices exclusively for customers. Increase customer service and support levels.

Your goal should be to hold or increase turnover, or to lose less sales than competitors by marketing intensively but smarter.

Doing this should see you emerge from the recession in a powerful position to use the good times that will inevitably follow the bad. The sales made by this strategy are statistically likely to outweigh any savings you may have made by sales-destroying cuts to marketing.

Ed Hatton is the owner of The Marketing Director and has consulted to and mentored SMBs in strategy, marketing and sales for almost 20 years. He co-authored an entrepreneurship textbook and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs to succeed.

Marketing Tactics

The Fifth P Is The Most Crucial

The reasoning is simple. If you don’t know your market, you will never be able to understand how the 4Ps apply to your potential customers.

Kyle Rolfe

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The four Ps of the Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place) have defined marketing campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful, for many years since E. Jerome McCarthy came up with the concept in 1960. And while there have been tremendous advances and innovations in marketing, the four Ps (4P) are still first on the list in any marketing course.

In the brand conscious society in which we live today, however, a fifth P has become the cornerstone to all marketing and branding exercises, whether you’re in the business-to-business or business-to-consumer market. The fifth P is People or is also referred to as Personalisation.

The reasoning is simple. If you don’t know your market, you will never be able to understand how the 4Ps apply to your potential customers:

  1. What products do they want?
  2. Where should you make them available?
  3. How to price your products to meet your market’s requirements and budget?
  4. How and where to promote your product?

The first step in defining your marketing strategy should be should be getting to know your customers. When you know who you are targeting and put people at the centre of the mix, you can more easily decide the optimal strategy that will deliver the most favourable results.


Airbnb example

Airbnb has built a valuable brand by making the 5th P a focus of it’s branding activities. They typically target millennials born 1980-2000 and it’s understanding their traits (needs and principles) that has been the key to their success. Let’s look at how this impacts each subsequent P individually.

Related: How To Make (A Lot Of) Money On Airbnb


1. Product

Spending with a conscience is core to most millennials and they tend to opt for products that allow for transparent traceability throughout the supply chain. Airbnb is not seen as a large corporate ripping off the little guy, but creates a community where everyone contributes and benefits from something seen as open, transparent and disruptive to the status quo. The company has no real assets, but its brand has the visibility of a Coca Cola or Starbucks in the millennial market.

2. Price

While its market is cost conscious, Airbnb knows they place a higher value on products and services that have been designed and developed in a manner that is good for people and the planet. Hence, by consuming the brand they become“part of the solution”.

Airbnb is, more than anything else, including its multi-billion dollar valuation, a community organisation that includes everyone from anywhere. Add to that the lower costs and almost limitless offerings, in general, and you have something their market can’t say no to. Airbnb is a real part of their culture and value system, not some fake corporation pretending to be ‘cool’.

3. Promotion

In terms of promotions, understanding their market is apprehensive of contracts and long-term commitments. Airbnb has none, you make a deal with an owner or someone looking to rent for a while and that’s it, no fuss. In an interview with Fast Company, Airbnb’s head of brand, Nancy King said one of the key reasons for Airbnb’s success “is all about emotional connection, and that is really the root of it”. She continues that,

“Iconic brands have a disproportionate share of cultural voice, and they hold the internal culture of companies.” And it’s clear that Airbnb has developed that cultural integration with millennial values.

Related: How To Drive Customer Referrals (When You Aren’t Airbnb, Dropbox or Uber)

4. Place

Convenience and accessibility is important to most markets, but millennials place an even higher priority on it. They want information right away, especially for online sales, and once bought they want to know where their product is in the supply chain until it arrives at the door.

In the case of Airbnb, your booking information is available everywhere and anywhere, on any device. And as part of the community culture it drives, its biggest brand builders are the word-of-mouth promotions its customers created in the natural flow of conversation, online and offline

“Airbnb is an amazing example of how a brand is the value of a company, in this case valued in the billions of dollars ($38 billion at the time of writing, according to Forbes),”  adds Rolfe. “This value is based on the value of its community, its culture and the way its partners (buyers and sellers) value what the brand can do for them, not the value of sales pipelines or fixed assets.

“This is a $38 billion valuation based on brand alone, based on the company’s ability to identify its market and create the community (not the business strategy) that appeals to them. In other words, the other four Ps are determined and led by a clear and intense understanding of the 5th P, the people who give Airbnb its value.”

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Marketing Tactics

How To Localise Your Marketing Campaign

Here are some of the best tips to help you understand how to localise your marketing campaign without a lot of effort.

Pauline Farris

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No matter which market you are trying to reach, localising the content you use for your marketing campaign will help you achieve a much smoother outcome. Localising your marketing campaign as a whole can have a number of benefits on the way your audience views your company to how effective the strategy actually is.

If you’re interested in starting to localise your marketing campaign as well, keep reading.

Make sure your products are compatible with the new markets

You might have noticed that there are certain big companies which have spread all around the world and offer their products and services to many different markets.

One of the things that all of these companies are very careful about is making sure the products they provide each geographic area with are compatible with the tastes and traditions of the people.

For example, many big fast-food chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have stores in Asia where they offer dishes which contain seaweed or tofu, which are local to this certain market.

If you want your marketing campaign to become a success, you will need to make sure that you promote these new, special for each location products, so that your customers will know they were made especially for them and their needs and they can then look for them either online through your website or in their areas.

Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

Work with the right professionals

In order to localise your marketing campaign, you will need to work with professionals who will be able to provide you with all the right information and tools you need in order to make it successful.

The most important person to look out for is a professional and preferably native translator. Machine translations can never produce the same outcome as a professional translator who is a native of a certain language.

Many online professional platforms for translators such as TheWordPoint note that “There will always be certain words and phrases which are native and can’t be translated unless a language is your mother tongue”. This is why a human translator will always be far superior to a machine,

Along with that, you will want to invest in a professional who will be able to help you localise your keywords and make sure that you are targeting your marketing campaign to the right audience around the world.

Get feedback from your new audience

Last but not least, it is important to remember that you should always work hard to improve the content of your marketing campaigns. When trying to create certain products and services available for other parts of the world, it is normal for you to make mistakes and have to correct things as you go.

If one of your customers has some feedback to give you, kindly accept it and work hard in order to correct any mistake. You can even have a short poll on your social media accounts or website and ask your customers whether you could improve your localised services in any way.

Not only will this help you show your professionalism, but your customers will also appreciate how much effort you put into pleasing them with your services. This tactic will help you attract more potential customers and turn your marketing campaign into a success.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

Adjusting your marketing campaign the right way

Localising your marketing campaign will be a little difficult at first, but the good news is that you will only keep improving your tactics if you decide to put enough effort into it. Working with local, native professionals and adjusting your products to your customer’s needs, will help you succeed and stand out in your field.

What do you think is the most important thing when localising a marketing campaign?

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Marketing Tactics

5 Content Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.

Marie Fincher

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A small business owner struggles with a lot of challenges in his journey to success. One of his major concerns is related to content marketing. You need to promote your products and services and reach a larger audience to strengthen your brand on the market. However, in comparison to large businesses, small business owners struggle also with limited budget and workforce. In a small business, the business owner is usually multitasking, doing everything he can to save money and stay in control of his business.

The truth is that your content strategy can help or break your business. You may have the best product in the world. It isn’t enough if your target audience hasn’t heard about it. You need content to promote yourself and spread the word on the market. Furthermore, when it comes to acquiring new clients and expanding on new markets, there’s nothing more powerful than content. This article is going to show which content marketing tips you can use to promote your small business.

5 Content marketing tips for small businesses:

1. Start with a good plan and steady flow

Your content can take many forms. You can impress your target audience with various forms of content like:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Visuals
  • Press releases
  • Videos

Before you start creating your content, you should have very clear in your mind what you want to achieve. Therefore, once you know which are your goals you can organise your marketing strategy and decide what type of content you are going to post and when. What is more, once your clients become loyal to the type of content you are producing, they will want more.

This means that you should be consistent in publishing different forms of content. You can post relevant content on a daily basis, or if you want to keep your clients in suspense, you can schedule your posts to be published every two weeks. Irrespective of the form you choose or the frequency, Trust My Paper advises that your content should be informative, actionable, and relevant.

Related: 10 Content Marketing Tips For Start-ups

2. Trust evergreen content

Yes, this might seem a cliché, but it is 100% guaranteed. Your content should deliver value regardless of the time your customers are going to read it. What does evergreen content mean? This type of content is always fresh, relevant, and valuable for your reader irrespective of the period when you will publish it. For example, it is important to keep your readers updated with the industry’s trends and development. But, this is not evergreen content because if your readers will find it after a while, it will not give them any relevant information.

To make sure that you build evergreen content, you can go for long tail keywords so that your content will rank high on the search engine for a long time. Plus, try to target beginners in your area of expertise and stay away from technical jargon.

3. Conduct a survey or a poll

If you feel you do your best to create relevant content for your buyer persona but the results still don’t appear, then it means that you should research more on what your customers really want. And, what is the best way to find what your target audience wants? You can organise a poll or a survey where you will ask them what type of content they would like to find on your website.

Based on the results you will receive you can organise your content strategy and the posting frequency. What is more, you can introduce some open questions where you ask your clients about the most interesting topics for them. This is a great exercise which will help you when you feel stuck and lack ideas for relevant ideas for your audience.

4. Do more content re-marketing

If you have some already published topics which were very successful, who says that you cannot re-publish them after a while? Re-using the relevant content you published in the past is definitely easier than creating new content from scratch.

What is more, if you shared your content on social media and tagged some of your most loyal clients, this is a great way to reach out to those customers after a while. This is a good method to reactive existing users and involve them in your story. In addition, you can refurbish past ideas to create even more exciting posts for your potential readers.

Related: 3 Ways To Build Your Brand Identity Using Content Marketing

5. Use verifiable facts in your content

In today’s reality, it’s perfectly okay if you produce interesting content. But you will be even more interesting to read if you add facts and clear data to your content. This is how you will show your readers that you are professional, and you did a deep research before publishing your posts. People like numbers and concrete ideas.

What is more, numbers have a higher impact on them, making them understand the reality and context. So, if you back up your content with facts, you can rest assure that your number of readers will increase. You will consolidate your position on the market as a serious business owner who is constantly updated with the market’s progress and trends.

There is no magic recipe for successful content. It takes a lot of effort and research to produce that type of content that makes people click and drives traffic. You can use the tips above and make your life a bit easier. Moreover, if you evaluate your content before distribution, you will be less exposed to errors. Your readers deserve error-free and relevant content. This is how you can keep them engaged and transform them in loyal clients.

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