Friday, 27 February 2009
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
That being the case, it's about time we adjusted our language and stopped thinking about it as a recession and more as 'the new normal'. If we look back on the last 10 years as exceptional (and let's be fair, not universally enjoyable - the whole process of keeping up with the Jones's and comparing house prices was pretty draining after a while) then we might have more chance of getting on with life.
In the 'new normal' things will not be worse, just different.
The way our customers think will be different, they way they act will be different and they will care about different things. They might even be different people.
Armed with this new mind-set we can set about acquiring the knowledge and insight we need to market effectively.
- Make sure that our relationships with customers, suppliers and staff are in excellent shape
- Identify changing needs and wants and adapt our propositions accordingly
- Stay true to the quality of our brands. Price promotions might hold up volumes in the short term, but will reduce profits and brand value over time
- Continue to invest in new products and services. Try new things. Cutting back on investment, innovation, product quality and customer service will result in a loss of market share that will be impossible to recapture
- Reduce our key objectives to a 'vital few' and focus all of our marketing energy on these
- Review our marketing budgets, invest where we need to and make sure we are running tight ships
- Take advantage of falling media prices to steal a march on the competition
- Recognise what we are very good at and build on it
- Be noticed and stand out from the crowd.
The bottom line is we musn't panic and throw our business strategies out of the window. Customers won't go into hiding. The desire for holidays, new houses, financial services, sales training or whatever it is we offer will still exist, we will just have to work harder to convert that desire into a purchase. Put another way, we will need to give people more and better reasons to make the commitment.
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Seth expresses frustration at marketers who can't work out why more people won't buy their products or services and suggests the answer is to stop focusing on rational benefits and instead to tune-in to irrational drivers, for example, the hassle of making the change or concern about what the boss will think.
We have clients who find it hard to accept that people aren’t buying their products or services in sufficient quantities too. The first step, is not in messaging or sales techniques, but to establish if there is still an adequate market for the product or service in the first place.
We are in a recession, which means that demand for all but the most essential purchases falls. The response to falling sales is to identify and understand the market. This might mean exploring new markets or establishing a proper basis of aggressive competition in existing ones: normally by differentiation or focusing on a niche. If necessary, costs and processes have to be reviewed to maintain profitability while price competition takes place.
The decision making process might meander through irrational steps, but the ultimate decision to sign a cheque in these straitened times is still a very rational one. Businesses have to accept that their market might be shrinking and adapt accordingly. To try and stave off falling demand by simply tweaking the message is equivilant to putting a finger in a broken dam.