If you are a conscious marketer, you've either heard the U.S. economy is in a recession or heading toward one. Neither end of the spectrum is positive. Therefore, I'm sure you're wondering if it is still wise to aggressively spend during these stressful times, or if it is time to tighten the belt and conserve your precious marketing dollars. My answer is that this is not the time to hold back. Companies are still spending money, especially for business products and services. In fact, a recent BtoB Magazine survey found that over 70 percent of the respondents were staying the course or even increasing their marketing budgets, with only roughly 30 percent reducing their budget plans.
The real change is that the tactics being used are shifting, and rightly so. And where do you think the shift is occurring? Well, it is no surprise that 45 percent of the respondents are reducing their print channel, whereas 48 percent are increasing their online channel. This, in my opinion, is due to the fact that in a downturn, there is much more pressure on proving ROI, and the online channel continues to outperform other types of mediums time and time again. And within online, email marketing continues to outperform all other tactics. According to Shop.org, email delivers an average cost per sale of less than $7, compared with $26 for paid search, and over $71 for banner ads.
And this pressure for hard and fast results will continue. Retrenching your lead generation efforts and raising visibility of the ROI of your initiatives (and the inherent tradeoffs of the various channels) will be paramount to remaining competitive. Focusing more efforts on cultivating the leads you have versus just acquiring new leads can provide substantial benefits. However, without the right technology in your hands, you may be grasping for answers when your boss comes calling. Smart marketing solutions (like Vtrenz’s new Lead Management Module (http://www.vtrenz.com/vtrenz/lead-scoring.cfm) can automatically manage incoming leads, provide a 'value' score, and notify sales when the prospect is ready to engage in a sale. They can also automate nurture marketing effort to stay in front of prospects during their buying cycle, while reengaging cold or lost leads. And lastly, they can integrate your sales and marketing process in order to track a lead from inquiry all the way through to a sale. This will not only reinforce your closed-loop marketing strategy but save marketing time, money and prove ROI.
If you find your back against the wall as many marketing and sales teams historically have during "shaky" times, give lead management technology a try and shake hands with your sales neighbor. You're sure to get tighter than ever.