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Published on Wednesday 17th of August 2011
If this September is anything like the last one, a lot of organizations are going to be ramping up their B2B marketing efforts. Last year, when the end of summer came around, the search volume for business-to-business marketing in the United States started to increase, reaching its apex near the end of September. In Canada, we observed similar results, as you can see in the charts.
The summer months, in comparison, are much more relaxed. Many people take their vacations and put off major B2B marketing projects until the fall. This means the competition is lower at that time. But when this September comes around, what are you going to do to stay ahead?
The Slowdown and Marketing Strategy
The economy has experienced another slowdown this summer. Is it time to halt your B2B marketing? Make no mistake, this time it will be most challenging for the companies that target federal clients. Private businesses have mostly recovered since the last economic crisis. A good indication of this is a recently released report by Gartner: Quarterly IT Spending Forecast July 2011 that claims that dispite of the economic climate worldwide, IT spending forecast has been revised up from 5.6% to 7.1% quarter over quarter. That means no cutting back on B2B marketing and instead adopting an aggressive marketing strategy to get ahead.
A report published a few years ago by BMO Financial Group investigated how Canadian businesses were affected by the global economic recession. It indicated that the most successful and least impacted organizations all had few things in common: they were always seeking to expand into new markets and unknown markets; they were refocusing their customer bases and getting rid of non-core business; and they were not afraid to forego the familiar and embrace the risks that can ultimately lead to further success.
Therefore, use these times to go on the offensive. Ramp up your B2B marketing, introduce new products, and spend a lot of effort making sure they’re in your customers’ minds. By taking a weaker economy head on, not only can you plow through the tough times, but you are ideally poised for rapid growth the moment there is an upswing.
This coming September, your competitors might be considering all of the above. Don’t fall behind, call Direct Objective to grow your customer base and expand into less familiar B2B marketing tactics or strategies.
Published on Monday 9th of August 2010
Most businesses tend to slow down in the summer months. While everyone is on vacation, now is a key opportunity to generate or reassess your marketing action plan. Create an advantage by examining whether your existing marketing action plan will deliver the requested sales you need in the fall. Will you reach your goals?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you re-assess your marketing action plan:
- Are you targeting the right market? Are there new niche markets you could, or should, be addressing?
- Have events in the past year impacted your business model? What new trends or changes in the marketplace may impact the effectiveness of your current marketing action plan?
- Has your website effectively generated leads? Are prospects able to find you on search engines? If you have invested in search engine optimization, have you targeted the right keywords that drive a high level of relevant traffic?
- Do you have any new avenues for bringing in clients? Have your past marketing lead generation activities been successful? Measuring the results of your marketing campaigns is crucial, and an important benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of your marketing action plan.
- Have you invested in social media marketing? Do you know what strategy you should employ and what tools to use?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself as you begin to re-examine your marketing action plan. Remember: your marketing plan is the foundation of all of your campaigns, so it pays to use the summer to prepare for the fall—especially if you want to get ahead of the competition.
In September, people come back to work refreshed and ready to roll. With better strategic marketing planning, you’ll ensure your business comes out stronger than ever! If you want advice, consult with us to make sure you have the most effective marketing action plan for your business.
Published on Friday 20th of February 2009Professional web layout design and web content copywriting are increasingly important markers of a company’s credibility. Because your website is the face of your company, you should always invest in professional web layout design and outsource web content copywriting to an experienced copywriter or marketing agency. But all too often I have seen great sites, even with a professional web layout and design and great content copywriting, struggle to attract traffic. It’s a shame to see how such investments fall short of their potential. After all, what’s the point of investing in great web content copywriting if nobody is reading it? Particularly with the economic downturn we’re in, businesses can’t afford to lose money. And even a professional web layout design and featured web content copywriting are not enough to bring visitors to a site if they don’t know about it.
That’s why it’s important to think of your web site as a lead generation tool. It can be tempting to structure your professional web layout design into an electronic brochure for your products or services and to just create your web content copywriting accordingly. But while this approach can make for a great-looking site, it won’t necessarily generate traffic. To function as a lead generation tool, you need to look beyond just professional web layout design and create more strategic web content copywriting.
This means investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your web content copywriting and structuring your professional web layout design to attract more search engine traffic. Other strategies include using newsletters and email campaigns to bring targeted leads to your site, submitting your site to relevant directories, and going beyond just web content copywriting into other forms of promotional writing, such as white papers.
Professional web layout design and web content copywriting are important parts of any web site; however, with increasing online competition, they are just not enough to bring leads to your site. With the right strategy and professional SEO, you can create a web site that is a lead generation tool in its own right.
Published on Thursday 20th of November 2008
Marketing Lead Generation Strategy
• Isolate a target market that is less affected by the economic downturn and single out a segment that needs your product/service.
• Make sure your product/service is attractive compared to the competition.
• Target the competition’s customers. Make sure they know you are still going strong and want their business.
Marketing Materials and Online Lead Generation
• Have a Web site that drives good, focused leads to get clients. Web sites are great for online lead generation and foster communication with customers.
• Have marketing materials that are up-to-date and reflective of your core competence. They should be in line with your product/service positioning.
Advertising to Get Clients
• When the budget comes down to branding vs. marketing lead generation, focus on driving leads. Online lead generation is the way to go for economical, effective marketing lead generation.
• Commit to long-running advertising campaigns to get clients. Then you can lock-in at a very low rate. Also look for value-added opportunities for editorial features and promotions to enhance your standing as a preferred advertiser.
• Use small advertisements, but run them more frequently.
• Check with publishers for any left-over advertising space. Get on their list for last-minute cancellations. Let them know you’re interested, and have some standard advertising material to be used at short notice.
Partnerships and Public Relations
• Seek out economical public relations exercises to keep your product name visible to prospects. Working with partners is a win-win scenario.
• Join forces with another business selling complimentary products and promote one another to clients.
• Consider approaching potential partners that were previously unattainable. They may be more flexible in an economic downturn.
• Don’t limit yourself to your usual suppliers. Shop around for production quotes.
• Maintain marketing communication with clients. Fuel their loyalty by creating flexible and low-cost word-of-mouth opportunities.
Published on Monday 10th of November 2008
Marketing lead generation may be the last thing on the minds of business owners during a market slowdown. Often funding for lead generation services is just not there. Along with customer service and quality assurance departments, marketing lead generation can be one of the first things to go. This is a risky move, however. Marketing lead generation is an investment to get clients. Without it, businesses will find themselves declining as the downturn begins to lift. By that time, a company’s lead generation will have fallen dangerously behind the competition, and businesses will struggle to get clients. This means that during an economic slowdown, more competitive marketing-oriented companies can easily steal the business of other companies. Still, it’s a tough dilemma. Decreasing visibility will dramatically reduce sales in the long run. But when a company is looking at cutting an ad or two in a trade publication versus cutting a key player, it’s not surprising that the ads are the first thing to go.
Surprisingly, history shows that maintaining or even increasing a marketing lead generation budget in a down market can be the best investment a company ever makes to get clients. A 1982 study performed by Dr. Valerie Kijewski in the wake of the early 80s recession found that when firms spent aggressively on advertising and marketing during a recessionary period, they outperformed firms that cut spending, and by a margin close to 250%. Similarly, a McGraw-Hill study reviewed the performance of firms in the 1980-1985 periods. It found that firms that cut advertising during the recession increased sales by only 19% in the post-recession period, while firms that upped spending increased sales by 275%. A more recent marketing lead generation study from the University of Texas, surveying the approach of 154 marketing executives, concluded:
Practitioners should take comfort in our finding that under someWhat are some of these conditions? Well, you need to already have had some marketing efforts in place before the recession hit. You also need to make sure you can afford the extra marketing lead generation to get clients.
well-defined conditions, it pays for firms to proac-tively invest in
marketing activities during a recession.
All this research is to say that increasing market presence and marketing lead generation during slow periods can really keep you on top when the market picks up. The effect of marketing during a recession can be impressive and can do a lot to get clients. The efforts will compound while other companies are cutting back, ensuring that your company has a real head start in a strengthening economy.
So what exactly should you do to stay ahead when money is tight?
First, spend time evaluating every area of your business, developing new leads to get clients, and building partnerships and customer relationships. All this is a better investment than keeping your money under the mattress when times are tough.
As far as marketing lead generation, you have a lot of options at your disposal, so choose lower-cost and more efficient marketing methods with online lead generation. Virtually every traditional marketing method has a corresponding online lead generation method:
Direct Mail -> Email Campaign
Telemarketing -> Online Advertising
Yellow Page Directories -> Search Engine Optimization
Live Conferences -> Web Seminars and White Papers
Public Relations -> Blogs
Printed Brochures -> Web sites
Online lead generation is faster, cheaper, and more efficient than the old methods, and thus is particularly well-suited to the dilemma of a recession.