What Smart Marketers Need to Do to Beat the Sh*t Out of This Recession

Let’s face it. We are facing a global recession for some time now and it might take some time for consumer sentiment to return to its former glory. CMOs and brand managers, whose decisions are often dictated by market sentiments and sales, need to make smart choices with their pocket monies (read budgets).

So, what does it take to be lean and mean? Here are three shrewd strategies that brand teams, marketing managers, and ad agencies might want to look at to make the best of these tough times.

Source: Image from Shutterstock

1. Think content, not campaign

Most marketing departments work from a campaign to campaign basis, burning their fingers in doing so. Campaigns are short term -not sustainable. Content is long term – sustainable. It would be in the best interest of a brand to realign its marketing team/agency to drive the agenda via content thinking. Invest in creating fresh, remarkable content. If required, establish a content team (either full time or freelancers) – bloggers, videographers, visual artists, and communication majors. Basically, you need to tell stories that are visually appealing rather than browbeat audiences with a television commercial or a static website.

2. Focus on owned and earned media

Corporate websites, landing pages, and campaign-specific websites collectively form a brand’s online identity. Purchase cycles for products/services span across multiple visits to websites and social media properties of brands. Moreover, consumers solicit feedback from friends and family on social networks (or email/instant messengers) before deciding to make a purchase. In these exacting times, focus your energies on owned and earned media.

Search engine optimization: All your owned media – website, blog, and  mobile site – needs organic traffic from search engines. SEO is a low-cost, long-term alternative to driving relevant traffic to your owned properties. If you have buried any SEO projects, it is time to open the cupboard and dust off those files.

Design testing: Your owned media needs to be user friendly and allow potential customers to find what they are looking for with minimal human intervention. Focus on testing your site design. Use A/B testing to optimize landing pages or deploy page-level and site-level surveys to collect qualitative feedback. Take a deep dive into your analytics tool and figure out sections of your website that need design changes. Bring in a data-driven design expert to optimize your owned assets.

3. Precise media targeting

Television, radio, and print media have huge spillover. Due to lack of precise audience targeting, we as marketers are punching tiny holes into our budgets, wasting precious client dollars (or rupees), and in return attracting audiences that are not highly relevant to our client’s business. Precise media targeting is possible. And most of it is not rocket science.

Infuse budgets into search engine marketing: Traffic from search engines is “intent” based, i.e., potential consumers are looking out for products and services and searching for information, search engines being the first point of entry. Apart from text-based ads, leverage display networks with relevant contextual targeting and placement targeting (specific sites within the display network). Smartly invest in Google, Yahoo, and Bing to generate relevant paid traffic that drives sales. Tip: create landing pages specific to search campaigns.

Use programmatic display: Programmatic display or audience buying is the process of buying online media via technology platforms like ad exchanges, agency trading desks, and DSPs (demand side platforms) or SSPs (supply-side platforms) rather than through manual negotiation done by media planners. Whether it is branding or direct response campaigns, programmatic display is effective in lowering eCPMs or CPAs. To learn more about programmatic display, read http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2165122/media-planners-programmatic-buying.

What do you think about these strategies? What strategy do you follow to save precious advertising dollars? Share your feedback via comments.

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