When times are slow you need to ensure you create a clear marketing plan for tough markets. A good way to do this is to split the plan into short, medium and long term goals and targets.
Review your marketing plan
Last year I was asked by a good friend who works for an equipment company to peer review a marketing plan that was put forward by another agency. The company was in a post-mining slowdown and needed sales fast.
While the marketing proposal was comprehensive, it did not address the company's much needed short term sales needs nor its medium term competitive advantage, which it desperately needed.
Marketing in tough b2b markets
All b2b markets experience 'boom and bust' and Western Australia's mining industry is no exception. After over 15 years of consecutive growth the wheels came off in 2015 and things have continued to slow down since.
For many businesses the phone has stopped ringing and sales have significantly dried up.
There is never a quick fix in a market that's come off boil. But, there are things that can be done to make sure your marketing is working for you in slower times.
The most straightforward way is to develop a marketing strategy and marketing plan for though markets around three timeframes: short, medium and long-term.
Short-term marketing planning
Short term marketing planning is all about initiative to generate short term sales. Focus short term planning on your existing client database and business referrers. It's always easier to win a client that you already have.
These captured clients / prospects often have the potential to deliver some short-medium term sales uplift (to grease the wheels of budgets for winning new clients).
A series of initiatives to generate short term sales uplift may include:
- Email marketing to existing database to sell more to existing clients
- Time sensitive product or service offers
- Other initiatives with current client base:
- planned sales campaigns
- mini events (eg breakfasts) to generate interest
- Google Adwords and Facebook Ad campaigns
Medium-term marketing planning
These are examples of initiatives to both build awareness and focus on generating incremental revenue in the medium term.
- Website conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
- Client breakfasts
- Inbound marketing campaigns,
- Press releases & other PR around case studies and projects
Long-term marketing planning
Long term marketing planning is less focused on sales and more focused on suring up your ongoing competitive advantage and building brand awareness.
This could include:
- Planned investment in marketing automation and CRM systems
- Brand awareness campaigns
- Content marketing campaigns and inbound marketing initiatives
- Conference attendance
Align the three action plans with corporate objectives
Marketing strategies and initiatives aren't worth the Mac Book they're conceived on if they don't align with the organisation's corporate and business objectives.
Plan like you're the CEO, not the marketing manager
If you're a marketing manager, your executive team is relying on you to develop a plan that generates opportunities, grows revenue and positions your business to win.
To get a marketing plan for tough markets through (and funded) you need to be sympathetic to the immediate and longer term needs of your CEO and C-suite team. Developing a three timeline marketing plan is the best way to get your initiatives approved and keep everyone happy (and employed).