Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now is the time to look at what you do and do it better

Making cut backs, conserving cash, re-working the burn rate to extend your survival time is all very prudent but, any company that intentionally pulls itself from the radar screen of their customers will be absent from customer decisions and referrals. By doing so, you create opportunity for your competitors to fill the void. There are always customers making decisions, so make sure that you’re part of the equation and process wherever they go for product information. Keeping customers engaged You have to think about keeping your customers engaged, even if their purchasing decisions are in a holding pattern temporarily. Those you engage will share it with peers. Such an ongoing process eventually strengthens and becomes a cycle. How do you do this? There has never been as good a time as in today’s Web 2.0 environment offering rich and inexpensive marketing tools. (We didn't have this in the last economic downturn.) Social Media, Interactive/Web, SEO, Blogs and PR. Let your customers be your advocacy group and give them the tools to contribute to the community building process. Help them translate your value proposition for different markets as well as enticing and compelling their peers to join them. Allow social media to become your guerrilla marketing and thereby conserve your cash. Remember, household brands took millions of dollars to build, such as Ebay, YouTube and Amazon and multitudes of enthusiasts to achieve global presence. You have to start engaging those who will get it, provide the spark, create global citizens and watch it grow. It takes focus and strategy to build presence over time. In the meantime, you might learn much from valuable customer feedback and your competitive advantages or deficiencies. Use this time to fix the deficiencies and stay on the radar screen so that when the economy starts picking up, which inevitably it will, you are already on that train!

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