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Creating Business Opportunities in Market Recession

By , 3 Jun 2012
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Introduction

As the news continues to come in that we are slipping into a recession, company executives are preparing for the inevitable: tighter budgets, higher levels of accountability, and a need for greater efficiency. Everyone from Fortune 500 companies to Small and Medium Enterprises echoed these sentiments which heighten the importance of Sales and Marketing in this recession phase. The objective is clear and simple: “Focus on Accountable Marketing”.

Marketing executives that wish to thrive in this environment must embrace the opportunity that a downtown represents and not dwell on the doom and gloom of impending financial challenges.

I believe that the majority of organizations will enter into an attrition mentality during the economic downturn, while the remainder will use this as an opportunity to:

  1. Focus on Profitable Growth
  2. Increase in Market Share
  3. Emerge as Industry Leaders 

Below I have provided four tips to help progressive companies and individuals better position their products and services for success in the recession.

#1: Measure: Metrics – The Science of Marketing

In recession corporations increase their scrutiny of all spending, i.e. downsizing, costs, budgets, job cuts. Marketing must re-evaluate not just what they are measuring but they are presenting it. It should have an economic foundation and provide clear linkage to how marketing is contributing to the company’s top line revenue goals. Present measurements that are clearly linked to company success such as the number of qualified leads provided to sales, sales pipeline coverage, sales funnel value for opportunities sourced by marketing. Campaign analytics that demonstrate the efficiency of marketing investments are a must in showing the value marketing is providing to the organization.

#2: Lead Generation vs. Awareness

In a recent study published by IDV, lead generation is the top priority for technology marketers this year. Marketers plan to allocate 52% of their marketing budget to demand generation, up from 48% in 2007.

My recommendation is to focus more of your budget dollars on programs and marketing initiatives that generate qualified leads for your sales force. Evaluate your tradeshow and conference calendar, and consider what the attendance is likely to be in a down economy. Consider trimming this part of the budget immediately if increased awareness is not your number one marketing goal. 

The ROI for shows where you "need to have a presence" starts at zero too. We call these ‘ego shows’ because some execs feel the company has to be seen there to be credible in the marketplace. Most prospects will care less. Shifting budget from awareness to lead generation is mortgaging the future to cover the costs of near term growth. It is the right strategy to ensure you exit the recession with growing revenues and deep enough pockets to repay this mortgage one or two years hence.

#3: Efficiency: Marketing Automation

Time required to manage programs can be overwhelming for many marketers. Add to that the need to aggregate multiple data sources like web statistics, email campaign responses, form submissions, and CRM information to provide “somewhat” accurate reports and you can easily need a small staff of people just to manage these components of your marketing organization.

And in a recession the CEO wants you to "do more with less". Enter marketing automation! Many analysts predict that by 2010 over 80% of marketing organizations will be using marketing automation technology. With the economic downturn, now is a great opportunity for your organization to begin the process of evaluating, adopting and integrating a marketing automation technology. 

#4: Opportunity vs. Threat 

Prior to the recession you may have been driving to open up new market segments, or broaden the geographic reach of your products and services. Naturally this requires significant marketing investments that will not have the same short term return as investments in your existing markets (unless they are saturated). In an economic downturn even your prospects are going to scrutinize their purchasing decisions more thoroughly. If your bread and butter markets aren’t saturated and you are not the dominant player, it is best to re-trench and do a better job honing the strength of your value proposition to the existing markets. This may postpone the meteoric increase in revenues you were planning prior to the recession, but it could also save you from losing market share in your existing markets, and prepare you for market share increases. So perhaps the best investment is in tools to help your sales team prove the strength of the economic value proposition to prospects even in a down economy – ROI calculators, more case studies with a focus on ROI etc.

By looking at this economic downturn as an opportunity to get lean and fit, to focus and drive efficiencies, and not an overwhelming challenge you will not only thrive in this environment but be even better prepared when the economy starts to improve. Your marketing team will be stronger and more focused as a result. It’s survival of the fittest and the recession will weaken some competitors leaving more market share for the strong. This is your opportunity to distance yourself from the competition. 

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Sandeep Kumar Seeram

United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionGood article... some additional thoughts PinmemberBill SerGio, The Infomercial King14-Jul-12 13:28 

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