In the modern business environment, marketing has to be at the heart of everything you do, at all times. It involves studying the marketplace, devising strategies and putting marketing and sales tools in place. It is not simply selling, although selling is strongly linked to marketing.
Marketing is one of the most important investments that your firm can make — it should be nurtured in tough times. Budgets for it should not be linked to sales. When sales drop, you likely need to spend more, and not less, to maintain or improve your place in the market. Cutting your marketing budget is like not paying your electricity bill — sooner or later the lights go out.
During a recession, if you cut back on marketing so much that your market presence becomes seriously compromised, you will have to spend a great deal to regain your position when good times return. In so doing, you will suffer a lag in the return on your revenues compared to competitors who have been “out there” during the slow times. Indeed, you may never regain your pre-recession market share.
Remember that your firm is not alone in watching costs. Your clients are also looking to enhance the value they get for each dollar invested. In devising a marketing program for tough times, it would be wise to:
Fine-tune your messaging. Create application notes and case studies to show potential clients how you can save energy, reduce waste, improve safety, enhance efficiency, etc.
Reach a higher level decision-maker. When spending is tightly controlled, you may need to reach a senior decision-maker who is motivated by financial considerations and wants a fast payback.
Emphasize value or cost savings. Companies on limited budgets may appreciate additional customer support, just-in-time delivery, complimentary design services or other value-added services.
Review all of your markets. While the mining industry has been hit globally, perhaps there is more that you can sell to the gold sector, which has not been hit by the recession.
Seek out new markets. There are always new clients out there. Perhaps you need to move away from your traditional local or regional market.
Maintain frequency and consistency. The way to be found when prospects are searching for potential vendors is to maintain frequency and consistency in your marketing messaging.
Use both “push” and “pull” marketing. Push marketing includes paid advertising and newsletters sent by mail or email to a qualified client list. Pull marketing includes ensuring that your website will be found when prospects are searching for information.
Review your marketing mix. Ensure that you are using the most cost-effective and strategically sound combination of advertising, Internet, trade show and other marketing tools. The marketing mix that you developed in the last boom period may not serve you so well when resources are limited.
Jon Baird, managing director of CAMESE and the immediate past president of PDAC, is interested in collective approaches to enhancing the Canadian brand in the world of mining.