Recession has been disruptive. Make sure your campaigns are prepared to take the pressure of market dynamics. It’s often difficult selecting right campaigns as part of your marketing strategies. The article will help you identify the right campaigns viz-a-viz the economic downturn.
1. Supply will not create it’s own demand: The principal will not apply in recession. Make sure that what you market is what is the “ask” of your target audience as well as adequate for consumption. The idea should be well verified and validated with industry analysts, advisors, primary research, sales team and most importantly past experience other than the gut feeling before the launch. Market what is critical for the organization given the downturn.
2. Strong Differentiator: The value proposition should be very well supported with a unique differentiator which will help your offering stand out of the crowd with a quick and top of the mind brand recall. Think of what differentiates a Google Chrome from a Fire Fox from a Microsoft Internet Explorer when all are simply internet explorers and what differentiates a Blackberry to an iphone when they are primarily a phone before anything else. The base offering remains the same however the proposition is tweaked to a degree which becomes a strong differentiator in the overall proposition thus changing the whole definition of the product giving you a competitive advantage.
3. Compare an apple with another apple: Marketing is more about Carpet Bombing your target audience- Marketing Proposition A with opportunity worth $ 5 M normally takes similar time and effort as marketing Proposition B with opportunity worth $ 50 M. At the same time, the market for Proposition A is 10 times more than Proposition B. Crux is – you should be able to compare one apple to another apple before you set your mind to run a particular campaign for given proposition. A win-win situation could be launching both the propositions if you have your pockets full of budget.
4. Explore the areas of advantage due to recession: Every downfall comes-up with losses for many and gains for few. There are companies that have been able to draw out lot money due to recession- e.g. Warehouse Retailers or Mass Retailers like BJs Wholesale and Primark (bulk seller of cheap cloths) other grocery retailers. The message is that companies have used recession as a tool to create new market. Can your proposition also be tweaked to change downturn into a massive opportunity? Of course it’s hard to find it but if you can do this- all the points I have mentioned will be taken care of.
5. Avoid Niche: Going to market with niche propositions when it comes to marketing in recession could be risky. Niche areas could be potential opportunities from a business perspective however niche can better be handled and offered by sales than through a marketing campaign given the current economic downturn.
6. Tuning the right Channels: Channel selection is the most important aspect of any successful campaign as every channel will have a different touch point with customer. Ensure that the channel selection is in line with the target audience. For Example: To target Niche opportunity an effective channel could be cold calling rather than advertising online and vice versa. This also depends upon the geography you are targeting – Channel that is effective in US may not be as much effective in Europe. Not to be ignored the sales cycle- look for channels that has smaller selling cycle e.g. Webinar usually takes 1.5 months, Podcasts and event participation gives quick leads.
7. Less is more: The lesson is to stay focused as you launch the campaigns. What I’ve personally learnt so far is stick to as fewer campaigns with full throttle effort to achieve results from those campaigns. Launching numerous campaigns to achieve significant results leads nowhere.
8. In line with Sales and Delivery: It’s important that your marketing effort is in line with what sales would be interested to sell. It’s advisable to convince your sales team before a campaign launch. Situations where proposition idea is launched without sales consent, the effort eventually ends-up hitting the wall Or Shit hitting the fan. Launch only when sales is ready to sell and leverage upon your marketing effort. Also ensure the delivery is adequate to support the marketing effort. Often marketing ends up generating opportunities and eventually discover that there are no capabilities or there are shortcomings in solution.
9. Nail the pain: Identify areas where your solution can bring immediate advantage to your customer – increasing the top line and simultaneously bringing the bottom line down by reducing cost of operations. A CXO state of mind today is to invest only in front ending areas of immediate returns with least or no cost to company rather than investing in solution that will benefit in long term.
10. No more Skin in the Game: Avoid campaigns with “Skin in the Game”. The time is hard and it’s expected to become even more challenging. Avoid pitching “Freebies” to gain attractiveness through marketing campaign – this could be harmful in big engagements given the worst market situations when anything can change in fraction on time. Both customers and Outsourcing companies are at the helm of market risks where all freebies may turn into liabilities.