Marketing and the “New Normal”

Marketing managers, Product Managers and CMOs are facing an environment that is out of their control. They can control the features, advantages and benefits of their products and services.  They can control their inbound and outbound marketing spending and targeting.  They can control (to some extent) how their brand is perceived in the market place.

What they cannot control is the market and specifically the economy.  And, it seems that there are multiple factors, again outside their control, that influence the economy.

·         Who will be elected President, and how will that change things?

·         Will the angst about the Euro be resolved, and how will this impact sales?

·         Will the slowdown in China impact the economy and my sales?

·         Will the perceived “Fiscal Cliff” create less demand?

·         Etc. etc.

Unfortunately, this is the “new normal.”  An environment characterized by significant uncertainty, constant change and potentially wild swings in both buyer confidence and buying power.

In situations like today, and there have been similar times, carefully choosing and implementing tried and true actions can help weather the storm.  Specifically:

           1.      Make sure that your products and services are fully differentiable from the competition.  The greater the differences, whether in performance, distribution or price, the greater the advantage.

           2.      Remember that your customer base represents the cheapest sale you can make.  They know you, they trust you, and you know how to reach them.  Selling more to them or selling up is good business.

          3.      Avoid tricks, subtleties and flash in your communication and promotions.  The average person today is overwhelmed with messages, whether from sellers or through social media.  Their span of attention is limited, and if they have to work to understand what you are saying, you lose.

         4.      You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Today that means that your web site is often the first “impression” that a potential buyer has of you and your company.  Make sure that it clearly and cleanly says what you do, how you do it, and how the potential buyer can reach you.  And, make sure that your links to social media that you choose to use (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) work and are current.

        5.      In B2B, case studies and references are key.  Show how customers have used your product and encourage good customers to talk about your solutions via blogs or comments. 

The “new normal” is difficult and risky.  Adhering to basics when there is chaos everywhere helps to reduce the risk which, when coupled with luck and an improving economy, can lead to success.

 

RHM

9/5/2012 

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