The media is full of one story – Government cuts. NHS cuts. City council cuts. All sorts of cuts! In times like these your marketing budget may feel like a luxury and history shows that in an economic downturn, the top of the list of cuts for businesses is marketing. But cut your marketing budget at your peril. Here’s why:
We live in a competitive environment. Brands are competing for attention like never before. Cut your marketing budget and your impact on your target audience will reduce significantly, if not die out because you’ll be swallowed by competitive.
It takes seven touches to move from being unknown into conscious awareness. Let’s use the example of Swirl Printers.
1. Potential client stumbles across the Swirl website from a Google search. They opt in to their e-newsletter. 2. They later receive the Swirl e-newsletter. 3. Then they see a Swirl advert. 4. At a networking event potential client meets a Swirl representative. Potential client takes a Swirl leaflet promo. 5. Potential client comes across the Swirl leaflet promo a few days later and places it in a draw for safe keeping. 6. Another Swirl e-newsletter reminds them of the leaflet promo in the drawer. 7. They visit the website and can quickly find further information on the promo (reinforcing the leaflet). The telephone number is easy to spot and they take action.
Without a marketing budget Swirl Printers would not have had the website, e-newsletter, advert, the representative at the networking event or the leaflet promo.
The seven touch theory also relates to the process of increasing brand awareness. Through those seven touches, Swirl Printers increased their brand awareness to their potential customer. Educating your target audience about your brand takes place through a similar progression of drip fed communications. You’ve got to speak to your target audience frequently so they do not forget your brand.
In a downturn marketing it is even more important than it was before! It is now more than ever that you want to attract customers. Therefore you need to communicate. Since many people stop marketing in a down turn, if you keep it up, or even increase it, you will be at an advantage.
I’m not talking about a million pound budget! I’m suggesting you cover the basics and do it well. You need a simple but effective website that is up to date; some information you can give out on request such as a promo leaflet, booklet or e-mailable PDF; exposure in the form of adverts or articles in relevant magazines, on or off-line; and if your target audience is other businesses then keep networking.
And then there’s the free stuff. They demand some of your time but they do wonders to raise your profile if you add value and are consistent. Use Twitter; blog regularly; get on LinkedIn; write and post articles and press releases; and, offer to speak at relevant events.
These are just a few hints and tips. Don’t follow the trend of cuts, cuts and more cuts. Rather invest in your marketing wisely. What are your thoughts on this topic?