Strategic Planning

The Case for Marketing Investment – Especially During Tough Times

We’ll admit: this is an uncomfortable subject to raise. Many of the people reading this will fall into one of two groups: (A) marketers who are struggling, in many cases because marketing budgets have been slashed, and (B) business operators who are up against the wall, many of whom see “severing a finger to save the hand” as the best available option.

Source: theclikk.com

For businesses that have experienced the need to cut nonessential spending due to the losses caused by the pandemic, marketing is usually one of the first areas to go. However, taking a deeper look sheds light on why investing in marketing is a good idea, if possible,  during tough times.

The Harvard Business Review found that companies that cut marketing costs faster and deeper than their rivals later have the lowest probability (21%) of pulling ahead of the competition once times improve.

If your business slashed its marketing budget, take time to look at the sources and reasoning in this article to think about bringing it back. Keep in mind that anything that is put off now, will need to be rebuilt later. Being able to adapt your marketing to the post-COVID will benefit in the long run, since your new strategy will already be built out.

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Webinar: Considerations for Adapting Your Business and Marketing Strategies for the New Normal

 This is our recent presentation to USA500, an community for successful Trusted Advisers in which we share and elaborate on the below insights with fellow members. Watch Eric Blaha’s presentation. The New Normal for Business and Marketing Strategies As businesses around the country try to assess what’s next after the big Shut Down, many […]

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New Normal After Coronavirus: 3 Changes Businesses Will Need to Adapt

Commentary: Government intervention, a contact-free economy, and automation will all define the new normal.

Source: fortune.com

Now that many of the worst-affected states are beginning to reopen their economies, we are all realizing that the post-pandemic world will be very different than it was just a few short months ago. We can expect increased government intervention as a result of the huge stimulus and bailout payments, and greater emphasis on promoting “an economy that serves all Americans”. According to the authors, the seismic shift to a contact-free economy will be seen in three areas in particular: digital commerce, telemedicine, and automation. All businesses need to rethink their business models and the name of the game is resilience. Companies will have to build, or strengthen, backup and safety plans, step up succession plans, and expand work-at-home capabilities. The good news is that the authors also anticipate some positive outcomes as a result of these changes. Sales Renewal is talking to a number of our clients on how they can adapt their businesses for success in what is being called the new normal.

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How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus

7. Prepare for a faster recovery than you expect.

Source: hbr.org

Well worth the read; here’s a sample:

4. Reallocate labor flexibly to different activities.
For example, in response to a severe decline in revenue, more than 40 restaurants, hotels, and cinema chains optimized their staffing to free up a large share of their workforces. They then shared those employees with Hema, a “new retail” supermarket chain owned by Alibaba, which was in urgent need of labor for delivery services due to the sudden increase in online purchases. O2O players, including Ele, Meituan, and JD’s 7Fresh followed this lead by also borrowing labor from restaurants.

5. Shift your sales channel mix away from face-to-face towards new channels
For example, cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan was forced to close 40% of its stores during the crisis, including all of its locations in Wuhan. However, the company redeployed its 100+ beauty advisors from those stores to become online influencers who leveraged digital tools, such as WeChat, to engage customers virtually and drive online sales. As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales.

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Your Marketing Launch Plan Is Missing a Critical Component: Strategy

It seems obvious that developing a clear marketing strategy – one embraced by all internal groups – before deploying a slew of marketing tactics can drastically improve the success of your marketing program. However, many new product marketing launches don’t reach their full potential because of a breakdown in communication and a lack of focus. The most effective path to a successful launch includes identifying clear goals and objectives, and zeroing in on consistent positioning and messaging.

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Brand Strategies are Changing – 8 New Rules

change of strategy ahead sign

This article posits that there has been a fundamental shift in the way brands are perceived and the value they provide. But why? Blame increased consumer skepticism, the “millennial mindset”, the importance of value over status, or the increasing power of community to provide help and insights, but whatever the cause, brands must understand what is changing so they can adapt. The author proposes some new guidelines brands should follow when shaping their strategies, communications and behaviors to face this new reality. While some may already be part of your brand strategy, others are worth calling out, specifically: a) be sure to find and communicate your brand’s meaning and purpose, b) participate in communities; they are critical to brand acceptance, and c) customer service can be a brand-defining attribute. Read the article for more fascinating insights.

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The New Era of Marketing Strategy

Relying too heavily on data when trying to create authentic customer experiences seems to have back-fired for some companies whose recent actions have caused significant damage to the customer trust they had built up and all but taken for granted (think: Facebook.) Marketers should remember that customers are human beings, not just numbers on a spreadsheet or sequences in an algorithm. So how do marketers meet increasingly sophisticated customer experience expectations that tend to be based on data, when those same customers are using more ad blockers and other privacy protection tools? This article suggests that the innovative use of AI technologies and curation platforms may be part of the solution to data overload.

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Is Your Business Built for 24/7 Customer Relationships?

A seismic shift is under way that many businesses cannot ignore: thanks to new technologies, instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you can address your customers’ needs the moment they arise—and sometimes even earlier. It’s a win-win: customers get a dramatically improved experience, and companies boost operational efficiencies and lower costs.

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Exactly What You Can Do to Define What Makes Your Brand as Unique as … M&Ms

“Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands!” For any business to succeed, it needs to uncover its USP or unique selling proposition; without placing a distinct and memorable stake in the ground, it is in danger of falling into the black hole of “everyone else”. Research your competitors to see what sets you apart and create buyer personas (detailed descriptions of your ideal customer) to help you make a list of everything that makes you different. Use your unique selling proposition in everything you do to help make better connections with your customers.

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Managing When the Future Is Unclear

The term "strategic ambiguity" might be enough to send your heart rate racing and your stress level into the stratosphere. However, this article acknowledges an under-appreciated reality: we often find ourselves managing in situations when it isn’t clear where we’re going or how we’ll get there. Discover some practical approaches you can take to emerge from periods of change a stronger manager and an exceptional leader.

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