It might be tempting to relax marketing efforts in times when business is going well and you are seeing a return on your investments. While owners may have an urge to slow down as their business is at or over capacity, they need to resist. Due to the chronic lag between marketing activity and sales results, leaders looking for long-term success in both bull and bear markets need to maintain momentum and keep the marketing engine fueled. While this may seem counterintuitive, demand often shifts without much notice; such as with fears of a recession or due to other changes in the marketplace. Marketing is not a function to turn on and off, but rather a strategy for longevity. To help navigate the business landscape in 2023, here are six marketing principles to keep in mind.
1. Stay Visible
Keeping your brand visible with consistent, strategic marketing activity helps your business stay relevant especially as competing brands continue to keep their messaging fresh. By nature, consumers have short-term recall. Repeated exposure helps your brand stand out so that it is harder for audiences to forget your company when they have a direct need or are asked for a referral. Marketing goes beyond the goal of producing more sales. With an over-abundance of work, pivoting to a brand-building strategy makes sense. Regardless of your current appetite for sales, your business needs to be seen to remain relevant.
2. Consider Your Goals
If today’s goal is simply to maintain the attention of your customer base (since you may lack capacity for additional new clients), focusing on educational content to pique interest can drive a pipeline for client expansion. This can include things like white papers, blog posts, conference presentations, seminars, webinars and newsletters. It is not a question of whether your company should be marketing, but what you should be marketing. If your goal shifts back to sales attraction, you can always expand and adjust your campaigns to convey that you have capacity for additional clients.
3. Find Your Greatest ROI
Another reason it is important to market when business is doing well is that marketing tends to be one of the first things to get cut when business falls off, despite the logic. Nonetheless, it is always easier for businesses to justify marketing investments when they can most afford to do so. When business is booming, it makes sense to determine where you are seeing the greatest return on your marketing spend. This allows you to prioritize based on your top-performing initiatives if you need to reduce your marketing budget at some point in the future.
4. Build the Team
Being busy is an opportunity to increase capacity by hiring new employees to keep pace with demand. It may be prudent to start some new hires in temporary or part-time positions so that your company has room to expand or contract gradually without worrying about overextending resources. This will help your company meet customer service needs based on market conditions. Investing in new talent when you are busy can help reduce turnover rates while allowing you to identify your next rising stars; which should save on recruiting costs. If you do grow your workforce during busy times, it is even more important to maintain the high level of demand with marketing to support the added labor costs long term.
5. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Establishing a sustainable routine can help you commit to more sustainable marketing practices. One way to do this is by scheduling social media posts and e-mails to send automatically which frees up marketers to perform other tasks. A tip for marketing teams who are spread too thin is to use e-mail templates to save time. When business is busy and hiring has not yet caught up to demand, another simple solution is to refresh and recycle old content to quickly generate marketing material.
6. Reach the Right Audience
When busy, it is the ideal time to evaluate and optimize your client list so you can target marketing efforts to receptive audiences. Taking on the right clients will help maximize spend and ROI. Companies that are already busy do not need mass outreach and should instead focus on higher priority lead generation—quality over quantity. Once you identify who your ideal clients are, you can work backwards to attract more clients with similar qualities and avoid wasting valuable time marketing to the wrong audiences. From there, it is possible to narrow down a marketing strategy that appeals to the ideal customer. Inconsistent marketing will lead to missed opportunities and less market share; something businesses simply cannot afford in this tight market.
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Clayton & McKervey understand the ebbs and flows of businesses like yours and can help your team operationally in busy or slow times. We can work with you on ways to strengthen your position in the marketplace and understand the metrics for long-term financial success. Contact us today to learn more.