By Sarah Miller
Sometimes when the marketing numbers are dull, there's a reason for it. Maybe people should stop blaming the economy and what ever else people are pointing the finger to and just pick themselves up and start fresh. There are plenty of companies doing great in this economy and it's because they see the benefits to being proactive not reactive.
Let's start with some simple ideas to get moving forward and pretty soon you won't be looking backward -- you'll be moving ahead. Let's get fresh!
1. Study your Competition - if you have already done it, do it again. Who's doing well in your business sector and why? What marketing methods are they using and what makes them popular? If you are losing existing customers, and it's something they need, they have to be going somewhere. Where are they going and why? Answers to those simple questions might help you discover your own marketing campaign (and company) weakness(es).
2. Time Wasters - What eats up your company's time and brings a very little return for that investment? Examples can be anything from clients to services to marketing channels. Cut what's not working and try something new.
3. Ruling by Committee - This actually goes into the time waster column as well but it is worthy enough to stand on it's own. If you are ruling by committee, seriously consider having someone who is the bottom line decision maker. The decision maker will rely on their committee members for feedback on particular issues so they can make those important decisions. There should also be time limits on how long something sits in debate with the committee so that a final decision can and will be made.
4. Evaluate Your Product or Service Weaknesses - Everything sold has a weakness. Acknowledge it (your customers might even be tweeting about it right now) and make a list of all possible solutions -- even the ones that sound crazy because they may spur an idea that's not so crazy. Try at least one of the solutions on the list and see what impact it makes. You may want to promote this in your marketing campaigns.
5. Look at Customer Support - The easiest way for a company to be profitable is to keep their existing customers happy. Is your support staff patient, knowledgeable and friendly? If not, you have a serious problem. Unsatisfied people tend to speak out much louder than satisfied customers. With social media and the web, customers can instantly tell the world not to use your product or service. If a new customer is researching your company and finds this information, what do you think they will do? Even if dissatisfied customers don't go online to rant -- If your competition has a good customer support system in place, your customers will switch to them even if your competition costs more.
The bottom line is to encourage activities that promote a 'fresh look' at your company's assets and weaknesses. Market to your strengths and offer something of value to your customers/clients. Companies that are proactive, even sometimes reinventing themselves, will survive the recession. It is a time when the cream truly does rise to the top.