Thursday, October 23, 2008

Start-ups: Spend every $ as if it were your last!

It’s time to get real so how can you maximize your budget? Some lay-offs will be inevitable as you strive to cut costs as raising funds becomes harder, but marketing is key to survival even though it's usually the first to go. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water The typical reaction in a downturn is to fire the VP of Marketing, shut down the department and pass the function over to product development. This is a big mistake and will cost you more in the long run to rebuild your image, brand, website traffic and, to re-hire experience. While making cuts in expenditures is prudent, eliminating a key member of the management team is a short term fix that leaves you vulnerable to the competition. You’ll also risk missing the trends and the opportunities when the economy does pick up. Keeping customers in a crummy economy Second, keeping your key marketing strategist is important so you can stay in the game. Cutting budgets doesn’t mean that you stop all marketing communications and campaigns. • Think about incentives, promotions - from discounts to freebies to keep your existing customers. Offer discounted 1 year memberships to lock them in, coupons to entice them back to make the next purchase. (This doesn’t actually cost money to execute.) Get creative! It costs more to acquire a new customer than retain one. • Maintain regular communications with customers via P.R. (an inexpensive marketing tool); there’s always lots to talk about and customer stories cost little to produce and free to distribute via YouTube. • Use the Internet for creating Blogs on your company websites and tap into social networks. • Research and monitor the market; know your competitors so when things pick up, your are ready. And finally, if you really cannot retain a key marketing professional full-time, you can still stay in the game by hiring part-time, interim or a consultant. That puts you in a position to run once the market picks up. Help your company to survive and help the economy to recover faster. Got a question or comment, post here or e-mail me at businessissuestoday@gmail.com

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