Another year ends, and economic uncertainty and gridlock in Washington continues to plague consumers, businesses and brands.
That said, life will go on. And if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), or nonprofit organization, the question is what marketing and marketing communications investments, strategies and tactics should you employ the previous year. My thoughts to achieve profitable sales growth are as follows. Some may surprise you.
- It’s time to increase marketing communications spending
You probably have not heard many pundits talking about increasing marketing communications investment in 2014. However, you probably have not heard much about what Congress is considering in this area either. Did you know that Congress is currently reviewing reduction in the current 100 percent deductibility Advertising Spending ?
Current talks center on a deduction of only 50 percent of the cost in advertising runs, and the payments by 50 percent over the next five or ten years. In reality, a new tax on advertising.
Both sides are pushing this, and while it is doubtful that anything will make it into law in 2014, when the process is started it is very difficult to get it stopped. So, consider the significant opportunities that exist – at least one year – to use the increased spending to profit build your brand in 2014.
- Employ market research to further understand customer
Many B2C and B2B marketers believe they understand all that is important to their customers and clients. But they really?
Rather than “think” you understand what is really important to them, and how they perceive your brand against competition, it does not make good sense to conduct market research to uncover the truth?
In the ever changing world of today, your target audience has many ways to evaluate your product or service well before entering the store, place an online order, or talk to a sales person. And if you constantly monitor their conversations of social media, you never know, for sure, their attitudes and perceptions (or, perhaps more importantly, their misunderstanding).
Before you invest valuable marketing and marketing communications money and time, make it a priority to invest in fully understanding your audience. Look before you leap!
- improve the profitability of the brand is a Marketing Communications review
Consider conducting marketing communications audit to determine when, where and how to invest your time and money. Audit can provide you with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your current program as a whole , as well how each marketing strategy did or did not meet your goals.
A marketing communications review will help you decide:
- What materials should be emphasized (or de-emphasis);
- How to improve budgets and media mix
- The fit of the existing or planned theming, graphics and tone and manner of all messages
- A roadmap of how messages should be delivered in all media, both traditional and “new”
Integration of marketing in a holistic manner (with a message that is important to the audience) before you commit marketing dollars can provide a significant opportunity to improve profitability.
- recognize the importance of Creative Product
With all the emphasis in recent years on the effectiveness of media delivery, some marketers missed creative product itself has been – and always will be -. The key to successful marketing communications
If creative product not break through the clutter and understanding, and if it does not improve your image and convince your customers and prospects to buy, delivery system you hire really does not matter.
This is true in all aspects of your communications -. Navigation, content, marketing communications, advertising, social media, public relations, direct mail, collateral material, and even the latest cure all, “native advertising”
As Tom Bradley, head of marketing at Nestle once said, “the best source of marketing communications leverage is quality message . It is not a media vehicle, new or traditional, which has or has not returned.”
And do not settle for the unproven creative professionals or cut corners because of cost. Good creative work is invaluable, and foster the creative professional you have to consistently deliver a compelling message that the audience can relate to and engage with. Make sure that someone in your company has the expertise to not only encourage the brilliant creative work, but also to recognize it when he sees it. As the old adage goes, “you get what you pay for.”
- Marketing and marketing communications Consultants Can Improve ROI
There will be challenges in the year ahead. Consumers are more demanding and knowledgeable, and the combined companies, have learned to buy a new way. Rapid changes in technology have created an “always on” media environment. A recent study by Forrester says that 34 percent of the market now feel overwhelmed by the change .
If this hits home with you, now may be the time to tap into the established experience, media neutral consultants. It is efficient use of resources and can provide much needed objectivity to the choice you have to do.
In these uncertain economic landscape, the B2C and B2B marketers already stretched to the limit. Many will benefit from genuine and apolitical “fresh eyes” who are willing to tell it as it is .
Above all, look for consultants with a broad scope and senior level experience across industries and brands. This diversity of experience and network of like-minded professionals can expand their horizons and keep you on budget.
success in the year ahead
There will be many other factors for the market to consider in 2014 – recognize the rapidly growing older population, the importance of the Latino community, globalization, the effectiveness of various marketing materials technology to name a few. Hopefully five main points discussed above will challenge you to think deeper about profitable years.