There's rarely any good news on the financial front these days. So I was pleased when I saw a recent article by Direct Magazine's Ken Magill indicating that 79 percent of surveyed executives said their companies will have spent the same or more on marketing in 2008 than 2007. Also, 42% said they don't expect the economy to have an impact on their marketing budgets.
All too often, when the economy begins to dip downward, companies cut back on marketing activities, hoping to simply weather the storm. But some experienced marketers view recessions as opportunities to grow market share and strengthen their business. I'm excited to see BtoB marketers have apparently chosen to invest strategically to keep their existing clients satisfied and their prospects informed.
Also, I'd like to add two tips of my own to help BtoB marketers weather this storm and make wise decisions.
Align Your Definitions of ROI Measurement. I can't say this enough. The term ROI represents different things to different people and is bandied about by many without solid agreement regarding its true meaning as defined inside the company. In fact, Forrester Research found that nearly seven out of 10 marketers (69 percent) have a hard time arriving at an agreed upon definition of ROI.
Tip: Call a meeting with important internal stakeholders and hash out a definition of ROI.
Gather Relevant Information. Reaching out to customers with messages based on behavioral targeting can help boost revenue and improve customer loyalty and brand positioning. Integrating a Web analytics tool with your email marketing solution can give you an invaluable look at customer desires and concerns.
Tip: Identify the data you want to act on and enlist the assistance of your marketing solutions provider or IT department to create the technical integration points. Like you, they are under pressure to do more with less, and should be incented to make the most of the solutions they have in house. Encourage them to automate the process for passing these data key points in order to make them actionable in your email marketing or other messaging-oriented systems without ongoing manual involvement.
Lastly, just keep on marketing. Putting our company's "head in the sand" at this time will make it that much harder to react when the economy bounces back. Like investing, we need to buy low and sell high, and in the end, we'll be ahead of the pack.