Success will also depend on the timing of your efforts. Now is the time to establish marketing plans for the recovery-formulate strategies, design campaigns, make media choices, justify expenditures -- so you are ready to go with an approved marketing plan as your company's budgets open up and you have marketing funds to invest.
Recover from Marketing Cutbacks
If you were forced to reduce your marketing exposure during the downturn, it's essential that you regain momentum early and quickly. Your visible presence in the market through sustained and frequent marketing will give your company a jump start before the market becomes overcrowded with messaging from competitors. Then, as demand begins to increase, you will have an advantage because potential customers will have been continually exposed to your messaging and have an affinity to work with you.
If you did cut back, you likely need to do more now to catch up. You will need to remind customers and prospects that you are here, a strong and viable company ready to serve their needs. Even if you did maintain marketing during the downturn, you must continue or increase your marketing efforts because the competition for customers is only going to increase as the economy continues to recover and companies hungry for new business compete aggressively.
Plan Now to Ensure Success
A typical marketing cycle looks something like this: establish marketing strategy, identify marketing objectives, define target audience, research media options, conceive campaigns, calculate costs, craft messaging, gain executive endorsement and marketing funds, execute campaigns, measure effectiveness, refine tactics.
As every marketer knows, that's a lot of work. If you save it all until budgets open up and your company is ready to invest more in marketing, you'll end up scrambling to put together marketing plans and seeking budget approval. By the time you actually get out there in the market, you'll be well behind competitors who got an early start.
Don't wait to hear that funds are available
for marketing. Proactively plan your marketing efforts as the recovery is underway and gather evidence to justify your expected marketing expenditures.
It Won't Be "Marketing as Usual"
As an enlightened marketer, you know that you must be prepared to think differently about your approaches to connecting with customers, prospects and markets. Even before economic problems hit, your customers, prospects and markets had moved away from traditional media sources such as printed trade journals and in-person tradeshows, and toward online media such as online search, e-newsletters, virtual events and banner advertising. Your audience has already migrated online, and will continue to stay online as the economy recovery continues.
Choose an appropriate mix of targeted online programs that offer measurability and ROI, and provide evidence to support marketing decisions. Only in this fashion will you be able to emerge from the downturn in a strong position to drive growth.