The turn of a decade should symbolise a new start and bring renewed enthusiasm and optimism. But with the dark cloud of the recession still lingering overhead, marketers have to plan without the necessary budget to match business expectations.
An effective marketing plan needs to deliver a high number of leads through targeted campaigns, to both existing and prospective customers. The focus should be on getting the right message to the right audience via the right method, to bring customers in time and again.
This careful approach should fit in with reduced budgets. A few simple steps that can be implemented by a business of any size will strengthen and cement your brand in the minds of customers in 2010.
The first step is to ensure consistency across logos, colour, language, fonts and messages across all marketing media. It is crucial to create an image that embodies your company’s identity, so your brand becomes recognisable and the preferred choice for customers.
The right framework can be used repeatedly and, when introducing new ideas or products, the consistent format will reassure existing customers that your core values remain.
Working out which type of marketing is appropriate for your customers is the next step. Media is consumed in different ways by different people, therefore it is important to understand your customer base well enough to know how they like to receive information, such as a brochure through the door or a print ad in a magazine, and which of these will generate the best response.
Do not forget your digital marketing strategy. Targeted email, using mailers, helps resellers quickly and easily reach customers and it allows you to send information cheaply to existing and potential customers.
Some suppliers also offer marketing support for resellers via dedicated online tools, which give access to personalised flyers as well as rich emails and special promotions. These can be customised in promotional campaigns.
Known and loyal customers should be distinguished from prospects. It is important not to give away margin unnecessarily to loyal customers while offering sufficient incentives to remain loyal.
Similarly, find a balance between offering a wide range of products and hoping that one or two products will meet a need, and targeted activity that ties in with customer needs or previous purchase patterns.
With the latter, you can demonstrate your value and understanding of their business. If your messages are too broad, you might not interest anyone, too narrow and you may not hit the mark. It is all down to understanding your customer and how each one differs.
Marketing does not have to mean spending vast amounts of money on specialists or rebranding. Even in an industry with a huge range of products and many different needs to fill, by investing time and thought into your marketing strategy, you can create a consistent framework that builds on your company’s values and allows you to focus on the core strengths which are the key to sales.
Jane Rowe is marketing and communications director at Spicers UK
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