Saturday, 12 July 2008

Recession Busting: Same Sales and Marketing Outcomes at 1/10th the Investment?

We are talking tough times here- and the intent of this post is to provide ideas to organizations on how to minimize their sales and marketing investments, whilst not letting go of the outcomes.

We are very familiar with the way businesses build out their customer outreach. They tend to invest in standard marketing vehicles (Events, Market research, Media relations, Direct Marketing etc) to build awareness, and once air cover is created, the Direct Sales-force gets after customers and creates revenue streams. In general this is a capital intensive, high investment model- all the above channels cost serious money.

However, this paradigm can be turned upside down in many industries, and increasingly in many geographies. Why? Customers are changing their behaviour and business need to adopt, and if they do, they save a truckload. Consider the following:

  • 3 Reasons why you don't need a massive advertising budget:
    • If you have a "cool gadget", all you need to do is to send that gadget to the leading edge tech reviewers (zdnet, cnet, gizmodo etc) who would be delighted to review the gadget and put up the video/audio reviews up on their websites. Witness the phenomenon of the apple IPhone (the 3G variant of which was launched this week). How much of the iphone information is coming to you from APPLE as compared to from some blog or some website or something else?
    • Your customers are predominantly searching for you online before they get to you- surely you should be able to leverage that behaviour by going after them in the online space? Target them through Search engine optimization/ through social networks etc?
    • Target alternative awareness generators- blogs, viral videos (youtube channel) which are accessible at a fraction of the cost.
  • Do you really need to have a big direct sales force?
    • If your product is mainly provided online, you can create "free trials" - a 30 day free trial of a software package can do wonders to increase adoption and awareness, and what more, you get to observe your customers using the products through analytics- halve your direct salesforce
    • Product design should be leveraged – entice customers to try with really simple user interfaces and processes, but once they are engaged, encourage them to get to try more complex features and functions, and increase revenues
    • Ensure that you make it very easy for your customers to compliment you and give you feedback (discussion forums etC), so they are selling to other customers
  • Slash all early stage awareness building events:
    • Given people are going online to find out about you, why invest at all in early stage awareness building through events?
    • Are those stalls, product demos, and the physical infrastructure that typically support events really required?

Typically, the above three tend to be the biggest drain on your costs, and hence any significant impact on the above are going to clearly flow to the bottom-line.


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