Avoid High Anxiety with a Marketing Review

With high anxiety during periods of economic stagnation, budget and staff-cuts are always at the forefront. But, take a good look at what is and is not working before you make your decisions. Some common reactionary mistakes include:

  • Reduction of sales and customer service staff before reviewing other parts of the operation. Sales and customer service is the lifeline of a successful organization.
  • Continuing current advertising “because we have always done this” and without a good understanding of cost versus value.
  • Not requiring measurable statistics of all advertising activities.
  • A panicked approach to finding new clients.

Where to Start?

Are your customers raving fans? Are they selling your services for you? If not, go out and buy the book “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard. A good customer service plan is central to any solid marketing strategy. That includes continuing to market to existing clients and providing them with great service. If you don’t, you’ll certainly see a drop in revenue.

Focus on Marketing Statistics as You Review Budget Categories

As you review budget categories, put marketing at the top. Analyze the previous year. Conduct a detailed review of every marketing activity, including a cost/benefit study. It’s time to break out the Return on Investment (ROI) statistics you’ve been compiling.

What worked well for you? What didn’t? Advertising line items for which you have not compiled ROI statistics must be considered suspect. Go back to any advertising provider and ask for market penetration and segmentation statistics. Are you able to document how many new clients or how much additional revenue can be attributed to each and every advertising campaign? If not, the campaign is a candidate for termination.

If you can’t show measurable results from a program designed to grow your client base, discontinue it. It’s time to stay in front of your current clients, solidifying their business with exceptional customer service and product offerings. Ignoring current clients while searching for new ones can be disastrous. Do those things that have the highest potential to bring immediate and sustained impact to your bottom line through your current client base.

Beef  Up Marketing With Customer Service

Disciplined, planned marketing activities need not be costly to be effective. Implementing a referral program, a thank-you program andother scheduled client “touches” might provide the anchor that keeps your clients coming back. If you can retain more clients, with fewer engaging the competition, you’ll feel less pressure to rush to add new clients. A leading reason clients look to the competition is some dissatisfaction with customer service. When clients feel neglected, they leave. Ask yourself the tough questions and then ask your customers the same. A customer survey will provide you with valuable information to help drive client retention.

There’s No Quick Fix

It’s time to resist reacting to the economy with quick-fix advertising activities that you hope will generate a quick improvement. Advertising to new clients requires a disciplined, long-term plan. There are no silver bullets to magically drive new customers your way. Advertising outlets are also feeling the crunch of revenue pullbacks. They may employ more aggressive sales techniques, often with unrealistic and undocumented projections. Rather than sign up for a quick-fix program that may prove to be ineffective, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can seek the assistance of an independent consultant. Take the time to create a written marketing plan and update it every 90 to 180 days. Be sure that taking care of existing clients is a key part of that plan. Take care of them first and they’ll take care of you. Avoid the high anxiety!