The economy, by almost all measures, is in the crapper. Money is tight for consumers; as a result, money is tight for businesses. When money is tight, folks have a tendency to make more “informed” decisions when it comes spendin’ time. How do you get the consumer to spend that money on your service/business/cause/idea? You have to stand out from the crowd. You have to add more value. You have to position yourself as the expert. You have to make them salivate a little. How do you do that?
It’s a scary word to some. It’s a curse word to others. But – it’s 100% necessary, and it becomes even more necessary when folks have less to spend. The catch here is that when people (consumers) have less to spend, businesses have less to spend – and a lot of businesses panic, spending less on marketing and advertising. What they should be doing is precisely the opposite. The wise business ramps up their marketing investment when the economy is going down, because (effective*) marketing is going to get you in front of people and out ahead of the competition.
Marketing is almost always a wise investment – but only if it’s done right.*
See, if you spend a boatload of money (the money that, according the economy, you don’t have) on a direct mail piece and you hit the wrong audience, you fail. If you hit the right audience with the wrong message, you fail. Shoot out a sub-par design, you fail.
But, really – mostly – if you don’t invest in marketing, YOU FAIL.
Notice I didn’t say invest money. Marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be effective. It does require an investment. Some time, maybe. Some comfort, probably. Some thought, absolutely. I’ll get more into specifics in some follow-up posts I have planned, but what I’m saying here is that you have to market, and you have to plan for some investment.
And the investment you make needs to be planned – and planned well – or it’s going to just be an expense with no hope of real return.
If you invest a lot of time in Facebook marketing but you don’t have a plan, you can waste a lot of time. If you don’t plan your next advertisement, you can wind up with really expensive birdcage liner – again, with no real return. If you go out somewhere and make an ass of yourself in a guerilla marketing campaign, you wind up with egg on your face and no new customers to help you wash it off – unless you plan it right.
So – what do you do? Build a strong, cohesive and coherent marketing PLAN. You don’t go hunting and just fire, indiscriminately, into the trees in hopes of bagging a squirrel. You walk around, see the environment, track the beast and plan your attack. Otherwise, you wind up popping off a lot of shells, making a giant ruckus and most likely go home hungry.
Don’t go ’round hungry. Get wise. Make a plan. Do some hunting. Ready. Aim. Fire.