Let's face the facts: the economy is not going to improve overnight. But reducing marketing budgets across the line only reduces costs. It does nothing to ensure your company remains
competitive, nor does it take advantage of the inherent opportunities a downturn opens up.
For example, after 9/11, while many people were scrambling to move out of Manhattan, I seized the opportunity to purchase a down-at-heel apartment within an AAA+ building. Most of my limited restoration budget was focused on core areas of concern (kitchen and bath), so I put some ff® patches in place and saved other enhancements for the future. This proved to be a wise strategy. Even in today's market, the apartment has more than doubled in value. In fact optimized units in my building have recently sold for three times the original purchase price. This revelation has compelled me into renovation mode.
There are numerous parallels here with the challenges many companies are facing today. Many entered the email market with the immediate goal to get in the game quickly, with minimal investment up front. Infrastructure and scalability would come down the road, when the opportunity was right.
Today, companies are so entrenched in the details of this economic tsunami, they're scrambling to scale back, while still hoping to increase ROI. This may seem unrealistic -- but it be can an attainable goal, assuming they view this time as the prime opportunity to "renovate" their overall marketing approach.
Here are some revelations to get you renovating:
Location. By investing in email, you're moving into the "best neighborhood." According to the DMA's Power of Direct economic impact study, for every dollar spent, email offers the highest return at $45.06 vs. $19.94 for non-internet marketing. Particularly in a down market, it is wise to invest in a proven commodity.
Determine your budget. Evaluate the ROI of all your marketing efforts. What is the percentage allocated to the various channels? Where do most of your sales come from? Are those percentages in alignment?
Consider renovating your marketing budget allocations to reflect what is most effective for your business.
Measure up. Size up your competitors and what they are doing right.
Identify areas where your program falls short.
Create your wish list. In a perfect world, what would your dream email program look like?
Do your research up front: Understand the cost and value of additional functionality and enhancements.
Create your punch list. Identify and prioritize your pain points, and try to tackle those areas first.
Lack of performance metrics? Multiple data sources? Time-consuming production processes? Figure out which improvements will yield the greatest return -- and put them at the top of the list.
Quantify your vision. Calculate the cost of each task; then align it with the projected benefit.
Define benchmarks and identify key milestones where you should begin the "next phase" based on projected ROI.
Refine your blueprint.No funds to execute your full vision immediately? By designing a phased vs. ad hoc approach, you'll ensure a scalable program.
Build upon a solid foundation: when budgets are limited, focus on the big picture vs. the immediate quick fix.
Don't go it alone. The right professional team can help you avoid costly mistakes and provide practical recommendations on what is mission-critical.
Think quality and value to maximize your budget.
Don't underestimate the benefit of cosmetic changes. Freshening your creative approach may be just the boost your program needs.
Simple creative modifications can result in improved performance.
Potential cost savings. Today's reality: Everyone is trying to be more competitive.
Think supply and demand -- can you drive a better deal somewhere that will enhance your processes or decrease your costs?
The present economic situation is what it is. Everyone is dealing with the same challenges, but not everyone will see the potential that is before their very eyes. Seize the opportunity to revaluate what works and where you should focus your energies and efforts, so you will be well-positioned for a robust future. Companies that invest wisely today will come back as winners when the markets really pick up again.