Marketing your business in this economy requires a strong stomach and a creative mind. Why the strong stomach? Most executives cave into the knee-jerk reaction of cutting marketing budgets when revenue slows down, which only exacerbates the revenue situation by not getting the word out to customers and prospects. When in fact, organizations should be increasing marketing efforts in challenging economic times.
The most common complaint I hear: But I don’t know if my marketing is working or not? Then maybe you are doing it wrong.
Newspapers, television, radio, email and a website are traditional marketing methods that will not set an organization apart unless the content is extremely good or unique. Creativity still gets the message through on these old school tools. Flo for Progressive insurance, Vince for ShamWow and Budweiser’s Clydesdales have messages that cut through the noise and their revenue proves that.
If you choose to use tradition marketing bring the creativity and lots of it. Frequency is also the key, although it can be expensive, consumers notice the unique.
Toward the edge: Web-based marketing
I mentioned a website is traditional marketing because there are literally millions of websites being added in the time it takes to read this article! Websites are old school marketing. The key to web-based marketing is how you drive traffic to your website (and it better be designed to keep the visitor there!) Search engine optimization, multiple links and social media feeds should be the focus of any marketer trying to drive traffic to your “awesome” website. And, if it isn’t awesome in the mind of the visitor: It won’t matter how much traffic you drive to it, you are failing in your marketing.
I mentioned social media because that is fast becoming the best way to touch prospects and customers while also driving them toward your website. Facebook, twitter, ping.fm, and Hootsuite are social media tools that should be in your marketing quiver. Millions of people are active in social media and it is not only here to stay but will be driving the next generation of search engines based on peer review. If you’ve not already joined the social media party you are lagging behind great marketers.
Out there: Game marketing
When someone says they are the mayor of Starbucks do you have any idea what they are referring to? Foursquare is a location-based phone app where a person can check in when they visit an establishment and the person who checks in the most in the last two months is given the title of Mayor. It is a game where not only can people check in but they give reviews and tips for their foursquare friends to see. How are you treating your mayor? What customer comments are being left on your foursquare listing?
Tomorrow I’ll go into greater depth on foursquare, but I bring it up here to point out how marketing is becoming the domain of the customer and the evolution of marketing is changing rapidly. Get creative and develop a strong stomach because the new economy rewards the best in the business and crushes those who are clueless.