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Marketers Need to Adapt to New Economic Conditions
Change is the one true constant of just about everything, and packs as heavy a punch in the marketing space as anywhere else. Change is perpetual, inevitable and, as seen of late in our economic downturn, outright challenging for marketers at all levels.
When it comes to succeeding – and often just surviving – in the face of changing market conditions, it's the marketer's ability to adapt that will prove their worth to their customers, their competition and, perhaps most importantly, to their management.
Marketers need to be ready to adapt and innovate to manage and exploit new market conditions. It falls on them to push their business' marketing strategies to embrace change and fight for resources while avoiding the typical, knee-jerk reactions that only lead to diminished budgets and revenues.
Here is how marketers can provide added value in even the tightest of economic times. You must remain flexible, especially when it comes to gaining customer insight, integrating marketing channels and measuring and analyzing results.
Collect data sensibly
Focus on collecting actionable information. Ensure that your data is relevant, high-quality and regularly updated. Customer data sources continue to grow, providing more opportunities to create better insights and deliver targeted, meaningful communications.
Collected and managed data needs to be actionable. This means avoiding the temptation to swamp databases with "interesting" but irrelevant data. Integrating Web analytics into the e-mail marketing database can drive key insights around shopping cart abandons, pages visited, sites linked from, product last bought and time since last visit. Use customer touch-points to collect data and focus on maintaining key contact details and preferences, but only if you have a strategy to use them.
Integrate your channels
Customers expect to be contacted through different media, and companies must understand these media links and weave online and offline messages that build compelling, engaging and personal experiences.
Integration of channels at different stages of the customer buying cycle will drive a more consistent and persistent message. Marketers should use their marketing platforms to create new fields in their databases to add relevance. This might mean using e-mail as an alert for a catalog, a new product launch or an upcoming event. Follow-up e-mails can serve as reminders for non-responders or satisfaction surveys after an event.
Measure and analyze with diligence
Prove it, prove it…and then prove it again. This means continually testing and evaluating marketing effectiveness through closed-loop marketing programs that deliver real insights into the effectiveness of various activities. Using a single repository to collect, manage, segment, execute, automate and integrate all marketing campaigns enables the evaluation of programs across channels. This is particularly useful when the marketing budget comes under increased pressure. The evaluation and justification for retaining marketing programs are simply more visible.
Let's face it. The nature of change is the one thing that won't change, but your marketing strategies can. By remaining flexible in tough times and focusing on the areas that will yield proven and measurable results, the main change marketers can expect to face is that of management doling out kudos instead of budget cuts.
Related link at ChiefMarketer