Marketing in a Skittish Economy


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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (Recovery Losses Momentum) stated that consumers have seen little growth in their wallets and remain skittish about the economy’s prospects. Of course, if you own a business that depends on people having jobs and disposable income you didn’t need research from the U.S. Commerce Department to tell you that consumer spending is sluggish. Economists are currently cutting forecasts for the second half, and your calls and foot traffic are already down. So, what’s your plan? Take more costs out of the business? My guess is that you’ve already cut expenses to the bone. But hold the presses! Do you really need a marketing recovery plan? After all, Business Week reported (The New Abnormal) that while Americans are broke and depressed they are still swilling $3 lattes and waiting in line for iPhones. Are you from Apple or Starbucks? I’m not either; so here are some quick tips to consider in our “unusually uncertain” economy.

1. Focus on the consumer.
a. Translation: Make sure you address competitive weaknesses within the four stages of the consumer purchasing process lifecycle, including: Awareness, Information Search, Evaluation, and Purchase / After-Sale Service. In addition, you may need to think smaller by breaking large marketing initiatives into several highly targeted micro campaigns based on continuous selection of the best (most profitable) of the best (ready-to-buy).

2. You will not get a do-over, mulligan or practice shot.
a. Translation: Do your P&L homework upfront and structure your best offer immediately. Don’t hold back; consumers with cash and a willingness to spend it are in short supply right now.

3. Don’t wait until there is a problem to contact or follow up with customers.
a. Translation: Monitor trigger events (contract dates, service calls, etc) closely and nurture two-way relationship building conversations. For example, my cell phone contract expired back in February and I still have not been contacted. When you do follow up make sure you have something valuable or significant to relate. By the way, a call merely to say you “just wanted to touch base” is not value-add.

4. Keep asking, listening, analyzing and improving.
a. Translation: Keep asking for and listening to your customer’s feedback. And make sure you are leveraging and engaging your entire organization as it relates to that feedback. Social media platforms are an excellent channel to help you both listen and engage in conversation.

Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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