The current economic climate presents many challenges for marketers. You need to compete harder for what business is available. You need to justify every marketing expenditure by providing measurable results. And there’s a good chance you need to work within new budget constraints.
Despite these challenges, you can be an effective marketer in a down economy. Spending is still taking place; there is still business to be won. Below are three important strategies to help you market more effectively during the economic downturn and win your share of business.
For a more in-depth look at marketing strategies, read the GlobalSpec white paper: “Nine Ways to Make Marketing Work in Challenging Times.”
Re-Define Your Target Market
Companies often take one of two approaches to define their target market during challenging times. First, they broaden their definition of their target market in terms of industry, customer needs or other criteria. This way, they might be able to close deals that otherwise might not have come their way.
The second approach is to narrow the definition of a target market, putting all sales and marketing resources on those prospects most likely to become customers, perhaps in a specific vertical where the company has strong brand recognition and market share.
Before deciding on either approach, you should first understand which sectors are the hardest hit by the economy. Suppliers should evaluate whether their products and services are a good fit for markets they might not be selling into today, but where spending is taking place. If you find opportunity, you will need re-allocate marketing dollars, re-invent your marketing messages to be relevant to prospects in new markets, and choose marketing programs such as industry-specific e-newsletters that reach a targeted audience.
Also, remember that your customers are working under tight budgets as well. In your messaging, try to emphasize value or cost savings you can provide in terms of additional customer support, just-in-time delivery, complimentary design services or other value-added services that make your company attractive to prospects.
Align with Your Customer’s Behavior
There’s an old adage in marketing that you must “fish where the fish are.” In other words, place your marketing investments and increase your visibility in those specific, targeted media vehicles where you know your customers and prospects will be exposed to your message.
Online is the most effective media today for reaching the engineering and technical audience. Forty-two percent of GlobalSpec’s survey respondents spend six or more hours per week on the Internet for work-related purposes, such as finding components, equipment, services and suppliers, and obtaining product and technical specifications. Sixty-two percent of respondents visit six or more work-related Web sites every week.
These results indicate that you need a strong online presence, and while having a company Web site is a requirement, it is not enough. Respondents reported that four of the top five sources for searching for products, services and suppliers are online sources—with supplier Web sites making the top five but also general search engines, online catalogs and GlobalSpec.com. It’s time to “right-size” your marketing spend and diversify your online presence. You’ll find greater opportunity to capture qualified leads and potential sales.
Focus on Quality and Quantity
Given the state of the economy, it’s more important than ever to focus on the quality of leads as well as quantity. Any organization that’s strained in terms of resources or budget cannot afford to waste valuable marketing dollars on programs that generate volumes of unqualified leads or spend precious time chasing down leads that are unlikely to become customers.
For example, instead of focusing solely on driving anonymous clicks to your Web site or paying for print ads that are difficult to measure, also choose programs that deliver interested prospects, provide prospect contact information, and offer reports of program performance. When it comes to making decisions about where to allocate your budget, ask your media partners to demonstrate how they provide quality leads and measurable performance. Make sure they understand the target customer you are trying to reach, offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned with your goals, and provide quality leads with full contact information.
These are just a few ideas on how to be more successful marketing in a down economy. For a more comprehensive evaluation of which strategies are right for your business, we invite you to download the GlobalSpec white paper: “Nine Ways to Make Marketing Work in Challenging Times.”