Relationship Marketing During a RecessionThursday, March 26th, 2009
Message from Michelle
It’s fashion week here in Charleston, and I’m having a blast each evening watching runway shows with friends, colleagues, and clients. To see more photos from Fashion Week, visit my blog.
Along with the busy social schedule, there’s a lot happening in the office. I’m excited to announce my client Hills of Africa has launched their new website. I had the pleasure of working closely with owners Meredith Hill and Sandy Salle to write optimized web copy for the site. And our PR efforts for Daniel Island Mortgage came to fruition with owner Gary Harwyn being on the local evening news twice last week, and a number of publications around the state have followed.
In other exciting news, I’m busy preparing for a free teleseminar I’m holding on March 31, 2009, with style expert Lee Heyward on 4 Ways to Perfect Your Business Image…Right Now. This call holds a special place for me as I’ve been working to refine my business image and rebrand my company. We now have a new name, a new logo, and the new website is soon to follow.
Working on the business-image call sparked this issue’s feature article on why now is the time to invest in your business image and brand. First impressions are everything, especially on the Internet where you have seconds to grab viewers’ attention. But having the right image on the web is important now more than ever during this economic slump.
Relationship Marketing During a Recession
During economic slowdowns, companies have a tendency to scale back marketing spending. We think our behavior is perfectly logical: money is tight, be tight with money. However, research shows that a downturn creates opportunity to accelerate growth faster than your competitors. This means right now–this week, this month, this year–is the best time to invest in your business and in your business image.
Consumers and companies alike are still spending, but they are focusing on getting the most out of every dollar spent and on demonstrating their marketing’s impact on revenue.
Whether a corporation or a single mom, buyers are thinking twice about whom they do business with. They are spending more time researching their options–looking for the best value for their dollar and the right company to hire or product to buy. They’re looking for value. And the business image that you portray–from your website to your Facebook page–needs to represent this.
McGraw-Hill did a study of businesses during the 1981-82 recession, and companies that maintained their advertising levels had a 275 percent increase in sales, while those that didn’t had increases of only 19 percent.
During the 1990-1991 recession years, Management Review asked American Marketing Association member firms about spending during the recession. The study showed that 15 percent reported greatly decreased ad budgets, while advertising was somewhat cut by 29 percent. But most firms that raised their marketing budgets enjoyed gains in market share. Management Review concluded that firms that increased their budgets and took on new people were twice as likely to pick up market share.
So what does this have to do with perfecting your business image?
Now more than ever, relationships between customers and brands are critical. Relationship marketing has surged to the top of effective marketing campaigns as a means to keep an appropriate level of market share and customer loyalty. And your marketing, especially online, helps to foster and maintain consumer-brand relationships.
If you don’t put effort into your marketing message, your website and blog, and all your marketing materials for that matter, what does that tell potential clients and companies you do business with about how you conduct business, how you see and value your business, and how it connects with others?
It sounds harsh, but make the wrong impression and you might break that customer – brand loyalty.
Tip of the Month
Findings from the Aberdeen Group’s recently published report, “The ROI on Social Media Marketing,” found that 63 percent of companies surveyed planned to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2009.
To read the article, click here.