Marketing Tips For a Struggling Economy

In a weak economy, having a strong message holding together your marketing campaign takes on a whole new level of importance. Consumers are holding on to the money they have, buying only the necessities. For marketers, then, it is important to make the product seem like a need rather than a want.

At first, this sounds difficult to accomplish because in addition to establishing the necessity, the marketer must distinguish their product and message from all similar products and messages. Trust me – it is not as bad as it first sounds. Now, more than ever, it is important to go back to the basics of Marketing 101 and then add a creative twist to stand out.

As a marketing executive, my company works with clients from Maine to Australia and is faced with many marketing challenges presented by all types of businesses. The recurring question is ‘How can I get my postcards, flyers, brochures, even my email blasts and my web-copy to be more effective so I can get more business and set my business apart from my competition?’

In the many years I have worked in marketing, I have established foolproof steps to developing successful campaigns and establishing products as new, interesting, and innovative.

First of all, to reach potential clients in this kind of economy, you really have to understand who they are, what they want, and how to get their attention. In other words, know your audience. Do your research and hone in on the people whom you believe you can really get the best response from. Don’t waste precious money sending millions of postcards or letters to people who have no use whatsoever for your product.

Second, do something exciting and out-of-the-box with your campaign. No potential customer wants to see the same old boring advertisements or direct mailers. If they’ve seen the same thing 100 times, that person is more likely to just discard the memory of ever having seen the advertisement (and will probably physically throw any direct mail straight into the trashcan as well). More creative executives today are realizing that they need to catch the mail-recipient’s attention some other way.

In recent months, I have found the most successful and profitable tool to use in my marketing campaigns is to use colorful, crazy doodles to emphasize the important points that will hold the recipient’s attention. In fact, my favorite of these tools is called Doodleopes(TM). Potential customers will surely take a second look at the company that sent them this doodled envelope or postcard.

The beauty of these tools is any one can use them. No expensive professional graphic designers. No long hours trying to figure out how to use a design program. Just cut-and-paste, drop and drag.

Third, make the customer feel special, appreciated, and understood. It is human nature to surround yourself with people and things that make you feel comfortable. If you can make someone feel like they are one-of-a-kind and you really put a lot of time into trying to attain their business, they will be more willing to look at and consider the products you’re offering. And if they’ve already purchased once and they feel like a truly valued customer (you haven’t just sent them a postcard that said “You’re a valued customer!” but that they really believe it), they will most likely come back to you when they need your product or service again.

So, how do you accomplish making a customer feel special? Well, you tell it to them multiple times and you show it through your kind behavior and unbelievable customer service. An easier way, however, that Ratajczak has come to know and love is to use a font that looks like handwriting on each and every marketing document from envelope to sales letter to postcard. Most direct mail received has an address written in boring Times New Roman or Arial, with no customization except maybe the company’s logo. Obviously, not much time was spent on this individual customer and they can feel it. So, this letter goes straight into the trash. No one wants to feel like another consumer in the crowd, so use a font that looks like you’ve written it yourself.

Marketing genius Bill Glazer of Glazer-Kenndy Insider’s Circle agrees, “A handwritten font will typically outperform any other type of font because it appears that it is a friend sending a friend a personal message.”

Be sure, however, that you are not using a handwriting font that looks completely fake. The trick is to convince the customer, not turn them off.

There are hundreds of other tips that could be shared, but these are the top three most important to remember. If anything, remember what I said before – take yourself back to Marketing 101 and then add an outrageously creative twist.

Recession Marketing – 9 Survival and Growth Strategies

Businesses and consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending, which could mean lower response rates for you. On top of that, many marketing budgets are being cut. This combination has sent many marketers into a panic. That’s why you need to reevaluate your marketing game plan for this recession. Here I’ll reveal the specific actions you can take to survive this economic downturn and be more successful in 2009.Having helped clients through 5 recessions, I’ve seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t.To everything there is a seasonFirst, it is important to know that recession is a normal part of the business cycle. The U.S. economy will come through a downturn or recession and then enter a new period of growth. But the hard truth is most recessions last about 16 to 18 months. This current one began in December 2007, but will probably last into 2010. And with the government scrambling to implement dramatic economic policies that will likely cause more harm than good, some economists project that we won’t see the end until mid-2011. Whatever the length, you can increase cash flow and profits now…and secure a major advantage over your competitors. You can also expand your market share in the next few years.Anticipating economic reality: Knowing the 4 economic trendsBefore we look at the 9 recession marketing strategies that you will need to survive and thrive in this recession, every marketer should be aware of 4 basic economic trends that will affect your campaigns.1. Deflation
A downturn in the economic cycle reflecting declining prices and a credit contraction. Our current historic deflation was predicted by a number of economists and investment advisors over the past few years. It’s not a recession, but an economic crisis of inflation accompanied by a recession.2. Inflation
A rise in the general level of prices of goods and services over time caused by high rates of growth in the money supply. Inflation can be thought of as a decrease in the value of the unit of currency. It is measured as the rate of change of a price index. Because of the massive government bailouts and deficit spending, this will be your marketing enemy in a few years. Under the Carter administration, inflation shot up over 12%. Under George W. Bush, it was up to 6% by November. Now it’s dipped back to about 3.4% because of deflationary pressure. Expect to see inflation rise at the start of next year.3. Recession
A significant decline in activity spread across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, employment, real income and wholesale-retail trade. The technical indicator of a recession is two nonsecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Unemployment is still lower than it was under Jimmy Carter.4. Stagflation
A condition of slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment. It is a time of economic stagnation accompanied by a rise in prices, or inflation. This could be what we are headed for, lasting for 5 to 10 years.By anticipating and understanding these economic realities, you can better adjust your marketing message and strategy. The key is to approach your challenges strategically and tactically-rather than act out of emotion and fear. When the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, was asked what he was going to do about the recession years ago, he answered: “We don’t plan to participate.”Lessons learned from the past 5 recessionsOne of my favorite recession research studies gives us some strategic guidance for you.McGraw-Hill Research published a study of 600 companies in 16 industries over a 5-year period that included a recession. Researchers concluded that firms that chose to maintain or increase their marketing budgets experienced sales growth that was 256% higher than those companies whose advertising suffered. Furthermore, those who cut back on their advertising realized a small increase of only 19% in that same time period.Here is another lesson learned from the last recession: The 25% of companies that increased their marketing budgets saw an increase in market share that was 2.5 times greater than competitors who cut back. But that’s not all you need to know. Here’s what I’ve learned from past recessions…
Companies that don’t adjust their marketing to the new economic environment suffer.
Businesses that follow the direct marketing model trump those who rely on traditional advertising.
Historically, companies maintaining or increasing their direct mail marketing through economic downturns
increase sales and market share during and after the slow period.
Businesses that regard direct response advertising costs as investments rather than expenses enjoy higher long term dividends.
Companies that stay aggressive in a downturn seize market share from more timid competitors.
Companies that cut back will lose revenue and opportunities, with fewer upsells and cross-sells for several
years after the recession…profoundly impacting the bottom line in the long-term.
Lesson learned: Think twice before arbitrarily cutting your budget. With so many of your competitors cutting back, you’ll have new opportunities for growth.Now let’s look at the 9 survival strategies you should implement now.Strategy #1: Re-examine your current marketing initiatives
Image advertising is a waste of your time and money, especially in a time like this. If you’re not using advertising that provides a measurable, quantifiable cost per lead, cost-per-sale and lifetime value of a customer, you’re practically throwing your money away.You absolutely must know your:
Cost per lead
Cost per sale
Lifetime value (LTV) of a customer
In a recession, it is more critical than ever to hold every marketing campaign accountable. That’s the only way to know how you should react in a down market and get the maximum impact for every single dollar spent. For example, the lifetime value Publisher’s Corner of a customer tells you exactly how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer. Without these statistics, it is impossible for you to know whether you’re making the most profitable use of your marketing budget. It’s the only way you’ll know whether you’re getting a positive or a negative return on your investment.Strategy #2: Review your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A powerful USP will grab prospects’ attention, distinguish you from competitors and draw them into your story. Now is the time to review and revise your USP. If it doesn’t tell your prospects how they will benefit from your product in today’s downturn and distinguish you from the competition…chances are you’ll become irrelevant. Your USP needs to be prominent, easily found and up-todate in all of your marketing-TV, direct mail, website, you name it.Tip: Before sending out your next campaign, take the time to review and revise your USP. Then place it at the beginning, middle and end of every marketing piece you create.Strategy #3: Address marketing evils with preemptive copy
Marketing evils are the barriers that stand between your customer and their decision to buy from you. They create skepticism toward your product. Today’s marketing evils include:
Economic crisis
Legal and regulatory changes
Budget cuts
When money is tight, fear of making a poor purchasing decision is high. Prospects will question what you say and raise more objections that prevent them from buying. Don’t ignore the worries, fears and concerns that are plaguing your prospect. Instead, use preemptive copy to address and overcome prospects’ skepticism.Well-executed copy for this recession will achieve the following 4 goals:
Address and dismiss your prospects’ objections.
Demonstrate how your product solves their most pressing problems.
Explain why your product is absolutely necessary-even in an economic downturn-and why it’s in your prospect’s best interest to buy now.
Clearly demonstrate why an alternative choice is not going to cut it.
Tip: Ask yourself these questions: Do I feel that the writer cares about me and understands my problems? Why should I respond now or later? Do I still have objections?Addressing these evils and explaining why your product overcomes them will boost your response. Likewise, ignoring these evils will depress your response.Strategy #4: Take advantage of dropping marketing costs
Media spending is plummeting and we haven’t hit the bottom yet. As a result, online and offline media costs are dropping-and, in some cases, this trend is likely to be long-term or permanent. Here’s where I’ve successfully helped marketers with cost-cutting negotiations:
Media costs
Postal discounts
Media options
The price of radio and TV time has seen deep cuts-which may be why the ubiquitous Snuggie(TM) ads aren’t confined to late-night TV spots. In addition to lower costs, you’ll find deals and opportunities never seen before. For example, many local newspapers and even The Wall Street Journal are selling ad space right on the front page.Strategy #5: Reevaluate your offer and make it preemptive
In this recession, consumers are hunting for the best way to get more for their money. It’s critical to update your value proposition so that it’s powerful and preemptive: It should answer prospects’ questions before they ask them and overcome their objections. Remember, your offer is not about the product-it’s about the prospect and what the prospect gets. The strongest offers reinforce value. They focus on the deal that the prospect will receive and present a get-morefor-your-money image.Here are 3 components of a successful offer:
A discount or price reduction. Right now people are looking for value, and a discount is the simplest way to deliver it. Just look at the most successful catalogs, emails and mailing pieces. You’ll find discounts in every one, from consumer retailers like J. Crew to B2B marketers like Thermo Fisher Scientific. Even designer makeup and beauty products are on sale, which is rare.
A premium. It’s a gift, a bribe, a strong enticement: Add value by giving something away. This can help you justify a higher price if you are unable to offer a hefty discount.
A guarantee. Reassure your prospects that they have nothing to lose. If you don’t have a guarantee, now is the time to start one.
Convince prospects that they’ll be losing out on something big without accepting your offer – recession or no recession.Strategy #6: Concentrate on your database
For most marketers, 20% of your customers represent 80% of your profits. Any significant loss of this core group could mean a serious hit to your sales, profits and future. Remember, it is always three to four times cheaper to upsell or crosssell an existing customer than to acquire a new one.That’s why you should implement these customer-retention strategies:
Upselling and cross-selling. Reevaluate your current process. Are you being aggressive enough in offering products or services that complement
your prospect’s purchases?
Loyalty programs. It is more important than ever to reward your best customers with extra perks to keep them coming back. Creating an exclusive club for loyal customers is also effective.
Conversion series. If you offer a free trial, be sure you have a professional follow-up direct marketing conversion series in place to convert these prospects to buyers. Many marketers make the mistake of letting qualified, interested prospects slip away easily. See the chart above for an example of a conversion series time line.
Retention series. Don’t wait around for your customers to renew subscriptions, reorder
products or come in for your services-remind them of your value, and reinforce their decision to
purchase from you.
Database lead management. If you don’t convert those hard-earned leads to sales, you’re
wasting your marketing efforts.
Reactivation campaigns. Use your improved, preemptive offer, complete with premiums and
discounts, to entice former customers to come back. Craft copy that demonstrates why your product is the
best choice right now.
Strategy #7: Revamp your corporate website
Static corporate home pages do nothing to encourage sales or improve your results. Yet so many marketers still rely on these non-marketing or anti-marketing sites. Instead, turn to direct marketing microsites and landing pages: Individual websites geared toward specific products and promotions. These sites use only direct response copy and art to sell a product or service. To improve efficiency and boost response, they don’t have navigation distractions. For example, you may want to create unique pages to capture leads and sales, or develop a product-specific sales page.Strategy #8: Streamline your shopping cart to boost sales
It’s a fact: 7-1/2 out of 10 online prospects will abandon their shopping cart before completing a purchase. Here are 2 big mistakes to avoid…Mistake #1-”Tombstone” carts. This is what I call shopping carts without sales copy. They’re a dead-end. Your cart should engage prospects, reassure them that they are making a good decision and lead them right to the “Buy Now” button. It must have direct response sales copy and direct response art.Mistake #2-Multistage process. The more you ask your prospect to click, the more sales you’ll lose. A one- to two-page seamless checkout process is more effective and efficient than a multistage process. Prospects will be less likely to have second thoughts and click away. Above all, keep it simple.Strategy #9: Reevaluate your media
Be sure to put your recession appropriate USP to work in all campaigns-including online and broadcast media.
Direct mail. You’re still able to produce a low cost per lead or sale with this highly targeted medium…even in a recession. It should be a major component of any marketing mix.
Paid search. Easy paid search is dead in this recession. But the right mix of keyword strategy, powerful direct response ads and separate, dedicated landing pages with timely content will produce a very high
ROI-although the numbers will be a very small part of your overall lead generation
and sales program.
Email. The days of sending a sales letter via email are over. Sales hype will not work. Instead, use an information-driven, content-rich email. Remember value.
TV and radio. Rates for prime airtime have been dropping, so now’s your chance to renegotiate rates and retest your options, such as time of day.
What worked last year is not going to work now because the market psychology is completely different. Opportunities for success are out there if you know where to look. Remember that your prospects’ spending patterns change in a recession, but they’ll still be spending money somewhere.Consumers may start to give up trips to the coffee shop in favor of a do-it-yourself espresso machine. Businesses may choose new software instead of new hardware, or invest in extra tech support to avoid an
expensive technology meltdown. With these strategies, you can turn this recession into an opportunity for growth, profits and greater market share.

Mobile Marketing is Gaining Popularity in Recent Times

The concept of mobile marketing has gained popularity in recent times. Companies all over the world are making use of this marketing tool in best possible way to market their products and services. This advertising tool enables the companies to contact the customers directly.

There are many marketing tools that enable the companies to market their goods. Mobile is one such device that enables the companies to market their goods. This device has become popular due to many reasons. One such reason is that it is mobile. Secondly, it is always with the people whom you want to convey your message to. So, there is high chance to contact the targeted customer directly.

Advertisers by means of the mobile marketing technique can send the promotional messages to their targeted customers in their mobile phones for promoting the service or good effectively. The message needs to be targeted to the potential customers. This is important. If the message is not targeted to the potential customers than brand promotion might become difficult.

The targeted customers after reading the message sent by the advertiser might not delete it to contact the sender later. But if the case is otherwise, i.e. if the message is sent to the customers who are not interested in the products and services of the company, then he/she might delete the message instantly just after receiving it. This won’t benefit the company in any chance. So, for mobile marketing, the first and foremost thing that needs to be considered is finding out the target audience.

Mobile marketing enables the individuals to get the information that they need for reaching their goals. It is undoubtedly a convenient option. There is no need to go online for seeing the advertisement. There is no need to put on the radio or switch on the TV to watch the TV channel commercial. You can get all information on your cellular phones. You will hardly find people not taking their mobile phones with them when out of the house or even when they are inside home. So, advertisers can contact the customer directly no matter at what time and place the customer is.

Email marketing has also become a popular form of advertisement. Nowadays there are many companies that make use of email marketing technique to promote their brand. However, although it is a popular form of advertisement but still cannot surpass the popularity of mobile marketing tool for brand promotion. Nowadays mobile phones are used in random not only for the purpose of communication but also for the purpose of marketing.

It is the personal touch of mobile marketing that has made it so effective. The promotional message is sent directly to the targeted customers and not board range of individuals. This personal nature has made the concept of marketing more popular in recent times. It is a cost effective way of promoting a brand and is becoming a great advertising medium.