Thriving in Today’s Economy

According to the American Marketing Association‘s recent survey – some 60% of marketers say halting or reducing spending on key marketing programs is the biggest mistake marketers can make in an economic downturn. In 2002, McKinsey published a study based on data collected from approximately 1,000 firms that found that the best performers in a downturn economy actually increased spending in these areas – not just relative to their competitors, but also compared to their own spending in better times. To maintain visibility and market standing in today’s economy, you need to remember these five key branding guidelines:

1) Know your target market.
2) Realign marketing strategies to match your businesses’ changing objectives.
3) Stand apart from the crowd and invest in innovation; define your distinguishers.
4) Sustain brand marketing by maintaining frequency and consistency.

Businesses who continue marketing throughout economic downturns are positioned to soar once the economy turns right side up and they achieve greater results than competitors who choose to cut their budget. This is the time when you can move ahead without much effort or investment and receive substantial results.

1) Know your target market. Be sure to focus on clients who value your services and provide potential for future business opportunities. Satisfaction surveys can reveal unexpected insights into your client’s expectations and goals – giving you a clear advantage over your competitors. In addition, they provide a valuable opportunity for the client to feel that their voice has been heard and appreciated. Survey your clients to find out what they prefer, ask about services rendered to date, are they satisfied with your services and deliverables, where could you improve, what do they need, what do they love and appreciate, and what is it that they absolutely can’t stand. Make sure you have clearly defined your target markets and that they are willing and able to utilize your services.

2) Realign your marketing strategies to match your business’ changing objectives – examine, refine and shape your business’ positioning message to reach your target market and their current needs. Review the information captured by your survey and apply the findings to better define and promote those areas where your expertise aligns with client goals. Refresh and update your website to reflect current offerings in relationship to the needs of your clients.

3) Stand apart from the crowd and invest in innovation; define your distinguishers. Every company has something they offer to clients that their competition does not. Focus on these offerings and make sure these services and products are aligned with your clients’ objectives for attaining their goals and increasing market share and revenues. Differentiate through innovation with a product or service that performs in a faltering economy; invest in marketing and implementation of this strategy/service now – to ensure that your company is in a position to compete when the economy rebounds. Differentiate through innovation. Identify case studies and client success stories that highlight your firm’s unique attributes. Define and disseminate the unique distinguishers of your services and the results created through your website and email campaigns.

Sustain brand marketing by maintaining frequency and consistency.Craft your message carefully, and then check to ensure that the message is consistent through all of your corporate “touchpoints.” Align your marketing message in your website, direct mail, newsletter, speaking engagements, brochures and all the way you speak with you clients. Coach employees to speak about your firm, your services and products consistently. Align all messaging and deliver messages to clients on a consistent basis.

5) Focus on longer-term marketing strategies. Marketing and creating awareness of your offerings is not a one-time event. Create an implementation plan for reaching your target market through a variety of mediums. Websites, email marketing, direct mail, newsletters, press releases and networking are all viable means for reaching your target market. Keep your website and marketing messages fresh and current with the needs of your clients. Assist clients with what they currently need and align with them on future needs. To succeed marketing plan needs to communicate through multiple mediums over an extended period of time.

Lastly, how well do your customers know you?The business world is full of stories of clients who didn’t purchase products or services – because they didn’t know that the company they already had a relationship with offered what they needed. Regular communication with potential and current clients is one way to help make sure that doesn’t happen to you. There are multiple surveys from past recessions confirming that firms that increase their marketing spending, significantly outperform their competitors.

Design Alliance is a Brand Marketing company focused on superior client service and innovative marketing that creates results. A few of our clients include: AT&T, Boston Properties, DCBIA, Department of the Treasury, Discovery Communications, EastBanc Properties, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Hickok Cole, Hines, Holder Properties, Lowe Enterprises, MCI, Mills Corporation, NY Metropolitan Opera, National Geographic, PBS Television, Rent.com, Simon, SmithGroup, Staubach, Thayer Interactive, Washington Opera, WashingtonPost.com, WDG, Western Development and The World Bank.

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