The Right Marketing Strategy For 2010 and 2011

This the third is a series on planning for 2011

For many B2B companies, September to December will define their year.  Current indicators are pointing to a flat to down macro economic environment, which does not bode well for those who had planned on growth in Q3 and Q4, with the flat to down forecast extending into 2011.

CEO’s and CFO’s, sensing that they cannot hit top line numbers (revenue), will strive to “manage” their companies by cutting expenses to meet or come close to net income goals.



  • In 1929, Ford outsold Chevy 10:1.  For a number of reasons, Ford essentially stopped advertising in 1929 and 1930.  By the mid 30’s Chevy, which introduced new products and continued to advertise was outselling Ford by more than 2:1.
  • Going into the Great Depression, Post Cereal was the number one breakfast cereal company in the US.  They stopped advertising.  Kellogg’s became the number one breakfast cereal company.
  • Proctor and Gamble moved to a new medium, Radio, created a new method of advertising, “soaps” and came out the Depression stronger than when they went in.
  • In a previous article, I quoted, Ralph Grabowski who has proof that Marketing expenditures should exceed Engineering expenditures by 2.5:1 or more! In order to be successful.

Certainly conditions have changed from the 1930s.  However, the basic principles remain the same.

  • Buyers need to know who you are, and why you are better/different.  Instead of print and radio, a better (lower cost) way to reach them may be through social media.
  • Value predominates.  As every company is looking to cut expenses, those that can deliver high value will win out.  This can be delivered in the product itself or through a combination of products and services.  But the buyer must be aware of the value, before the sale, in order to judge it against other vendors.
  • Consistency is important.  Buyers want to believe that the supplier is going to be there “tomorrow.”  Since tomorrow in this case is indefinite, it is important for the seller to project an image, via branding, of solidarity and permanence.  Cutting Marketing dollars is not the way to do this.

There is a high probability that B2B buying cycles will be extended and that some companies will “make-do” with what they have and forgo purchases.  However, companies can take advantage the opportunities provided by obsolescence and organic growth by providing true value propositions and positive customer experiences.

In order to be included on buyer’s short-lists a seller must be known.   In the Great Depression this was accomplished by using print advertising and a new media, Radio, and by promoting newer products.  The same applies today, with the opportunity to use new media as a means to promote your messages.

Instead of cutting expenses, the CEO and CFO should be investing in Marketing.  As the CMO, can you show them the impact of your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter placements?


RHM   8/12/2010

4 comments to The Right Marketing Strategy For 2010 and 2011

  • Jim Matorin


    I totally agree that it is time to spend on marketing, especially on innovation. I also believe (I apologize for being self serving here) that the best innovation will come from spending money on resources that are outside a company’s brick & mortar. Rationale: You can buy experience, an industry network and objectivity.

  • Aline Kaplan

    Bob: i agree, of course, with what you say. I have found, however, that technology executives resist accepting a consumer example for marketing investments. They don’t see the value of marketing as readily or as clearly as consumer exeutives do. That’s why tech companies have product managers and consumer companies have brand managers.

  • Marty Dugan

    I agree as well. Now is the time for tech companies to start aggressively marketing for the following reasons:
    1.) Take market share now. Although the total available market may have shrunk, as it grows you still want to start the growth cycle with a bigger slice of the pie rather than struggling with everyone else to grow.
    2.) Marketing services are cheaper these days. With so many marketing firms scrambling for jobs there is a lot of great talent out there that can be put to the task for a reasonable price. Start by getting some quotes or having a firm do a consultation.
    3.) Create an aggressive marketing strategy for 2011 now (it takes time to get one that your organization can agree on and waiting until Jan 2011 is too late). And get ready to launch the program in short order when the signs are right. Being prepared is a low cost strategy.

  • Neil, thanks for the great inihgst on using Twitter for business, very interesting perspective. I have not been a fan of twitter historically but you raise some good points that change some of the assumptions I had. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>