What’s your marketing strategy right now?

Advertising on Times Square, New York City
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Not a day passes by with more horrendous economic news. As a former financial expert I understand the long term implications of this meltdown to some extend.

Businesses shut down or get rid of parts of their operations – without any intensions of bringing them back.

Everyone seems to hedge their bets, tries to keep a low profile and somehow make it through the crisis.

I think it is about time to realize that this crisis will not end soon and we see an economic book looming on the horizon anytime soon.

Of course there are few of businesses that are benefitting from the economic collapse – mostly at the cost of others. Netflix is one of the few success stories that comes to mind.

Assuming that you are still in business, what should your marketing strategy be for the short and the medium term?

1. Cancel all big ad campaigns on major media channels
This sounds very drastic. But a TV ad or national print ad campaign requires significant resources that might better be placed otherwise. The accountability of these ad campaigns is still horrendous. You really don’t know what the $$$ you spent will do for you. Stop spending big marketing  $$$ unless you know what you get out of it.

2. Does your product or service or business model still fit into the current environment?
It is time to take a VERY hard look at your products or services. Are they innovative? Are they affordable? Are they useful? Times have changed and so has the need for your product. Check your price points. Are your traditional distribution channels still the best way to go?

This is the time to question everything. One benefit of our crisis is that you can very easily justify drastic changes in your business model without facing too many hard questions from your business partners – simply because everyone else is doing the same thing.

This is something you can do yourself or with a little help from your friends. That is what social media is for. Do not hire a business consultant – rather give the money to the homeless.

3. Be creative

What a no brainer! Shouldn‘t creativity be a given in marketing?

I am writing this, because you really need to step it up at least 2 notches in order to survive. Do you still work with a traditional (and expensive) marketing agency? Do you hire other outside contractors for services such as search engine optimization? Do you understand what every $$$ you spend on marketing is doing for you?

This is not the time to abandon marketing – unless you are in the process of closing shop. This is the time to be very sharp about every move you make. You can’t go back to your bank any longer and ask for a line of credit because you made some bad decisions that led to a drought in your cash flow.

Maybe it is time to hire an in house wiz-kid that will help you to restructure all your marketing efforts. Remember that I said this is the time to question everything?

You might also consider hiring an agency to develop concepts for you. But then do the actual work in-house instead of spending big $$$ on the hours the agency will bill you. I am simply talking about a creative powerhouse that can provide you with some unique marketing ideas tailored to your needs.

This is not the time to sit like a rabbit in front of a snake. The snake will eat you this time. Unless you have courage and the willingness to take chances and follow new paths your business might enter the graveyard. It is getting very packed right now. I would rather not see you there.

4. Finally: Some suggestions
So far I have told you a lot of things not to do. I’d encourage you to look at all the avenues you haven’t explored yet. Have you taken a look at all the ways social media networking could benefit your business?

Have you looked at cause marketing to gain an edge over your competitors? People are in need. This is great time to support others and be acknowledged for it. This can be done without you spending a ton of hard $$$.

Have you thought of producing some viral content?
The success of viral marketing efforts can’t be predicted. We tell al our clients that it is a crap shot. But it will only cost you a fraction of many traditional marketing efforts and could potentially have 100 times the impact. Therefore it is an option to consider – if you have some extra $$$ you can spend on it.

This is also the time to barter. Think of other businesses that could help you to promote your products and services. Do you have something to offer in return? It is time to contact them right now. Call or email the parties that come to your mind.

You do that and your chances of survival will somehow increase.

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