This entry was posted on Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 2:05 am by Alex and is filed under Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Technology Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
It’s been quite a while since I last wrote. The reason was a potentially forgiving one: too much time with customers. Actually, way too much time with customers. Is that always good?
Anyone with even the slightest hint of business sense will say it’s always good. But in today’s economic climate, it’s not just good, it’s purely essential. And not just for Covisio, for our customers too. We see them reach to us to sit down together as partners. They share their goals, needs, and challenges (budgetary or otherwise) and they ask us to work hand-in-hand with them on their marketing plan. So, I hope I don’t betray their trust by sharing a few of the trends we see repeating in our interactions with many of them in the last few months.
First and foremost, technology marketing budgets for ‘09 are indeed scrutinized. Our B2B customers are experiencing sales cycles that are getting longer because of the market inertia that’s settling in their own verticals due to recession fears. So, they carefully look back into their organizations cutting costs, limiting investments, and trimming budgets – marketing budgets included.
This in turn forces marketing teams to urgently seek programs that can generate demonstratable ROI. And this is then manifesting itself in three well-identified decision plans:
- Focus on direct field marketing vs. branding and corporate marcom. Direct marketing initiatives have a more immediate effect on sales and this is what most companies need to survive these hard times.
- Focus on online vs. traditional marketing channels. Campaigns involving email marketing, search engine marketing, and online events such as webinars or podcasts can be launched even with moderate budgets and have well-measured ROIs.
- Focus on buying vs. building. Although not a true marketing analogy, leveraging and integrating outside resources to get things done is a way to keep up with ambitious marketing goals, given that hiring in most marketing organizations is currently frozen.
However, what we are also seeing in this marketing downturn – arguably a bit unexpectedly – is an ongoing strong focus on Web 2.0 and social media marketing that doesn’t seem to slow down. And I say this can be considered to be a somehow unexpected trend, because social media is not directly linked to lead generation objectives that companies strive for today. But then, these companies seem to now clearly see the strategic value of social media for relationship and network marketing in the long term and they choose to consciously keep pursing such efforts even in the face of a difficult environment.
In closing, one final word. Given the tough economic conditions worldwide, companies face hardships but also opportunities. This is something not to be overlooked. Now is a great time to jump on your competitors and hit on their weaknesses. It’s a time to prove your strategy and see to excel in your execution. It’s a time to inspire and energize your employees to work towards a common goal. And to do that you need marketing strong on your side. And I would say not necessarily quantity marketing, but certainly quality marketing. Now is the time for it more than ever!