Prospering in a downturn

Top 10 marketing tips to keep your business on track in 2009

To give your business every opportunity to be profitable during times of economic uncertainty there are a range of strategies businesses can use to build their existing customer base. We've selected the top 10 marketing tips for the new financial year:

1. Market smarter
A smart marketing plan must be based on a thorough understanding of your customers. You must know who your best and most profitable clients are and what initiates their buying behaviours.  This knowledge gives you the ability to become increasingly sophisticated in your marketing efforts - a factor which is absolutely critical in a slowing economic environment.

2. Prove your investment
Now is not the time to cut back on marketing spend. Many marketers often find themselves battling for funds so it is ever more critical to prove the value of what you do. The best approach is a targeted one - effective targeting will mean a smaller group but a better response rate. This will allow you to deliver a solid return on investment.

3. Manage your relationships
Obtain feedback from your customers and determine how you can help them to get them through the turbulent times. Adopting a partnership approach will provide great rewards and it will ensure that your customers keep coming back.

4. Invest in quality data
Quality data is actionable data. It allows you to develop a comprehensive understanding of your customers, and maximise the possibilities of identifying new business leads. For prospecting efforts to be maximised, use the right data to evaluate your target groups more effectively and ensure your sales team is chasing the right leads.

5. Target prospects that match the profile of your most profitable clients
Build a profile of your most profitable customers and determine the likelihood they will be around in 6 or 12 months time. Armed with this information your business can beef up its prospecting pipeline by targeting new customers with a similar profile.

6. Deliver a proposition that works
In a slowing economy customer needs change so it is important to re-assess your value proposition. Identify what makes your business stand out of from its competitors and ensure your proposition is right for the client and the environment.

7. Grow with digital
Most of your customers can be found online so it is critical that you have a strong online presence. An effective online strategy will help you broaden your marketing approach and your ability to acquire new customers in a cost-effective way.

8. Integrate your channels
There are a wide array of channels available to marketing executives and it is important you get the mix right. The difference between using a single channel and multiple channels is significant- a more comprehensive approach that integrates advertising and promotions with the web for instance will maximise campaign success.

9. Establish beneficial partnerships
Locking in referral, sales and marketing partners can be a cost-effective way to drive customers to your business and achieve some quick wins.  Be selective in choosing the right partnerships - for instance, if your product and services are aligned you will achieve greater benefits from a partnership strategy.

10. Stay focused
Your marketing plan is only as good as your implementation. Revert back to your plan regularly to ensure key strategies are kept front of mind and resources are allocated wisely. Keeping your "eye on the ball" rather than spreading yourself too thin and implementing poorly will make the difference between profit and loss.


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