Conditions and circumstances in business constantly change so it is necessary to regularly review all your various activities and certainly do so at least once a year.
The New Year is an ideal time to do this, and in particular to revisit your marketing strategy, especially in the light of the confusion and uncertainty that has surrounded the business climate during the ongoing indecision about the way forward on leaving the EU.
There is some evidence that SMEs have been holding off on investment decisions and in searching for new business in the light of this and there is also the temptation to hold back on marketing expenditure.
However, the general advice is that you should not scale back on marketing during an economic downturn or when there is uncertainty. The argument is that even if your business is a well-known name if it disappears from view existing and potential customers may conclude that you have gone out of business.
If anything, this might be a good time to beef up your marketing strategy, thus sending out the signal that you have confidence in your business and its future.
One size does not fit all in marketing strategy
Marketers are always keen to encourage clients into engaging activities in whatever the newest tactic is but this can be a waste of money as well as diluting your message if all your competitors are jumping on the same bandwagon.
Retaining existing customers should be a key component of any strategy, not just finding new ones especially when there is a lot of change in your market. Indeed a downturn can be a huge opportunity if your competitors are not focussed on retaining their customers.
Marketing is not just about promotion and selling but also involves having products and services that customers want, distributing them in a way that makes it easy for them to find and buy, and setting a price they are happy to pay that leaves you with sufficient profit to justify the effort.
If you set up your marketing strategy having first identified your ideal customers and created profiles for them as well as identifying where they are most likely to be active, you will already have a key element of your marketing strategy in place.
You should also have a clear idea, if you regularly check the metrics, (results of activity) where your efforts have gained the most traction, whether this is visits to your website and how long visitors stay there, or whether it is the interaction you have gained on social media platforms, or the viewings and engagement of email marketing.
Equally, you should have an idea of what promotion activity works best, such as adverts, articles, leaflets, blogs, videos, or emails as examples.
Often businesses believe that they must take up the latest promotion idea, whether it is appropriate to them or not, as was the case with videos, resulting in a plethora of frankly dull “talking heads” that eventually turn off viewers.
The best marketing strategy has clear goals, whether to get your business name recognised, to sell products and services, build a trustworthy reputation or to position yourself as an expert in your field.
How you achieve this will depend on your type of business, whether B2B or B2C, the platforms you engage on and how well-produced your promotion materials are.
Most importantly all marketing should put the customer and their concerns first and create a rapport that convinces them that you do truly understand their needs.