It’s temptIng to slash your prInt marketIng budget as you scramble to make immediate, hard-dollar expense reductions in today’s uncertain economy, but now is the time to do exactly the opposite. The more visible your company is, the more confident your customers and prospects are that you will be around in good times and bad. When you stop inviting them to do business with you, you open the door for your best customers to become your competitor’s best prospects. Even astute marketers who appreciate print marketing’s role as a revenue-producing venture might face the reality of budget cuts during an economic slowdown. Delivering a value-driven message to high margin customers is a surefire way to reap returns from your marketing investment.
Target your marketing campaign based on current customer data. Clients who have purchased from you recently know who you are. They just need a simple reminder, such as a postcard or sell sheet, to give them a reason to buy from you again. Pay particular attention to retaining customers with the highest profit margin, and then target prospects in similar companies with the presumption that you will be able to serve them profitably as well.
Get inside your customers’ minds. Marketing must be meaningful and relevant to your target audience. You can only satisfy buyer motivations if you understand what your prospects love and hate—their hearts’ true desires and what keeps them awake at night. Have sincere dialogue about what they want and why they want it. The time spent developing this relationship will pay off in repeat sales and quality referrals.
Craft your message from a position of strength. During rough economic times, people don’t stop buying; they just become more selective. Establish yourself as a strategic business partner, who offers the most relevant products at the greatest value, based on quality and performance. Add credibility to your message with customer testimonials and other sources of validation, such as certifications and awards.
Exploit the weaknesses of the competition. Your best marketing campaign is worthless if the competitor down the street is closing the sale. Design print materials to persuade prospects to not only buy the product or service you’re offering, but to buy it from you. Determine what your competitors are doing—or not doing—that you can use to position your company, product or offer more favorably.
Give prospects a reason to buy today. No matter how magical your marketing message is, fewer people will likely respond in a recessionary period. Spur prospects to action with a limited time offer, such as a discount or complimentary service. Recognize that fear is a part of the buying decision. Guarantees are an effective way to ease buyer doubt.
Companies that market superior products and value prevail in times of both prosperity and recession, while those with inferior products and exaggerated marketing claims fail. Whether it’s branding, prospecting or customer retention, make smart decisions today, and enjoy a vastly stronger market presence when the economy bounces back.