New Year, new plans

Happy 2009! By all of the media accounts, it looks like a challenging year is in store. But challenges usually present great opportunities. Many people made money during the depression, and inĀ  the various recessions since.

Focus on opportunity, not doom

A client of mine recently said: “Now is not the time to retreat into a cave with no candles.” Customers need to know you are still here. This means having the confidence to invest in marketing your company. However, it may also mean marketing differently than before.

Now is a good time to step back and re-evaluate your plans. What looked good a few months ago may not be as effective today. The critical question is: are your dollars in the best place? Or: would a shift in your marketing mix make sense? The most likely answer to this is: yes.

Questions to consider for your company

  1. The most important questions are: what is your core customer facing as a result of the changes in our economy? What matters most to them now? Is your company answering these needs? The answers should be the central driving force for your marketing mix.
  2. Are your dollars directly producing ROI? Can you measure this?
  3. Can your plans be changed quickly is the expected ROI is not occurring? Weigh heavily any decisions for long-term commitments with no escape – you may need to adjust quickly in this economy.
  4. Can you test a small investment before committing to a large program?
  5. Are your dollars heavily weighted to image advertising? If so, could you use them more effectively? A well-crafted promotion can support image and produce sales.
  6. Are all the “arrows in alignment”? In other words, are all of your marketing dollars moving in the same direction, or are they allocated in a fragmented hodge-podge of promotions?
  7. Does your message still make sense? Consider this: Oprah changed the tone of her “Favorite things for the holidays” episode to “Oprah’s favorite things for a thrifty holiday” this year, shifting the focus to less extravagant fare. To her great credit, she explained that it “was not appropriate” to focus on high-ticket items given the current economic scenario.

(see my related article on investing in marketing throughout tough times.)

-Published January 7th, 2009

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