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fresh experiences on marketing topics for the B2B enterprises and more

Keep your customers (happy) during recession

Recession has come as a strong incentive for companies to  understand more than ever the importance of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth, and to create strategies to ensure they come out of this downturn with good results, profit even.

Especially in B2B, there are three main tools that you can use to make sure tyour companu survuves the crises, and maybe even thrive afterwards:

  • Retention. Attracting a new client costs much more than keeping the ones you already have happy. Furthermore, an old customer can bring new clients using word of mouth. Financially speaking, retention can lead to big returns. FedEx, for example, gained $100 million in revenues after a 1 percent improvement in customer retention.
  • Repurchase. This is a strategic and profitable tool to keep your revenue base, and even increase it. The best way you can encourage repurchase is by providing your clients with a positive customer experience. Purchase habits will increase, thus leading to an increase in sales.
  • Referral. Today, you can even measure the correlation between word-of-mouth referrals and financial outcomes through special programs or surveys. The financial benefits associated with word-of-mouth referrals can be impressive. The only “dark” side to this is that negative word of mouth can lead to significant losses in popularity and, implicitly, in sales.

More specifically, here are a few tips to help you set up a good retention program:

  • Have one-on-one meetings with clients, just to discover their needs and worries
  • Make the executive team’s contact information available to all clients
  • Include thoughtful gestures into all client-oriented activities, especially in face-to-face interaction

From a recession point of view, opportunities now arise to do all those small tasnks that you’ve been postponing because of lack of time. And customer loyalization is probably the most important task you have to complete these days, to make sure you overcome the downturn successfully.

Filed under: b2b marketing, b2b sales, Best Practices, Business-to-Business, Marketing Results, Marketing Tactics, Relationship Marketing, Strategy

The importance of being proactive in marketing

Numerous clients and colleagues ask me what they should do about marketing these days, because they find it a very hard job to market and sell even the best imaginable product or service, in this bad economy. As far as sales are concerned, cycles are much longer and actually closing a contract lasts twice as longer than one year ago, let’s say. And even if you do close a contract, the profit will be smaller.

In terms of marketing, there is a tremendous pressure to achieve better results by investing less money. Many marketers may think that quickness is the fastest way to success, but this can actually harm the business, instead of helping it. Maybe the best thing to ask yourselves is not: “What brilliant marketing techniques should I use next?”, but rather “What is the perfect balance between reactivity and pro-activity?”

This is the difference between the two opposed attitudes:

  • Proactive marketers plan very carefully, spend the marketing budget wisely and control their message veery step of the way. That understand what works and what doesn’t work in their industry, and they are not afraid to come up with a bold strategy. They proactively spend valuable the marketing budget in areas most likely to create positive results. Proactive marketers participate actively in social media, and take control over what is being said about their companies, products and services, thus being able to limit potential damage. They always monitor and measure results along the way, knowing that these efforts will return value for the company in the end.
  • Reactive marketers rush in and respond to trends, without taking their time to analize the market situation. These marketers do whatever they’re told or just follow therules they’ve read in books. In most cases, this approach ends up being more wasteful than successful, requiring multiple cycles to determine that something doesn’t work. With a “damage control” attitude toward their online reputation, these folks are vulnerable from a PR standpoint. Most often, they wait until the annual budgeting process to assess what happened to their money and efforts.

The point is: we all feel the pressure to deliver much better and convincing results than ever. Even though you need to act as quickly as possible, you should take a second and consider your attitude. Establish some measurable and sustainable goals and then execute your plan.

Filed under: b2b marketing, Best Practices, General, Marketing Planning, Marketing Tactics, objectives, Strategy,

What is the meaning of life – your company’s point of view

Every year the CEO hands down the revenue goals in the annual business plan. Everyone scrambles to make the figures, but nobody seems to take the time to think about what shaped those decisions.

First of all, you have to bear in mind that the main focus should not be deciding which strategy to adopt, but which criteria you use to select the right strategy. You start to develop those criteria, by figuring out what matters to your company and what success looks like.

Here are a few guidelines that will help you develop a set of criteria for your own business:

1. Establish what success looks like

Define as many elements as possible. What is your financial goal? What marketing strategies or tools will you need to promote your company? Do you have the right people working for you? Are the people you hired assigned to the right roles? Are their skills used properly and to the greatest advantage? Is market share more important, or maybe revenues, or client satisfaction?

If there are any changes to be made, they are welcomed before, rather than after implementing the strategy.

2. Decide what matters (in a general sense)

What is the current situation on your market? What are the new trends? Are there any preconceptions or long-held beliefs that might be holding your company back? What is the general feeling among your team members? Do they support your strategies? Were they effective in implementing the latest one?

It’s most important to keep your strategy aligned with the new status on the market, as well as the status in your own company. You have to develop a strategy that is both up to date and generally supported by your team.

3. Figure out what specifically matters to you

Now keep in mind that the main focus here is your company. And the most important asset you’ve got are the people working for you. Figure out what is important to them, and then what is important to the executive team. Do they have the same objectives? Are the interests of the people working for you aligned with the interests of your executive team?

4. Review the solid criteria

If you’ve gone through the first three steps, you’ll have about all the criteria you need to select the right strategy for your company. Here is a list of criteria you might consider:

  • Company size
  • Timeframe
  • Products portfolio
  • Region
  • Certainty
  • Affinity
  • Opportunity
  • Defense move
  • Sales model
  • Customer
  • Leverage
  • Service
  • Profitability

Elaborating the right success criteria helps you stay focused on the things that really matter for your company. You can only achieve success if you define what success is. How else will you know if you got there? Or how will you know if the place you are at is the right place for your company?

Filed under: Best Practices, General, how to, Internal Marketing, Marketing Planning, objectives, Strategy, , , , ,

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  • Keep your customers (happy) during recession June 18, 2009
    Recession has come as a strong incentive for companies to  understand more than ever the importance of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth, and to create strategies to ensure they come out of this downturn with good results, profit even. Especially in B2B, there are three main tools that you can use to make sure tyour companu […]
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  • How can B2B companies approach viral marketing? June 4, 2009
    Can B2B marketing be fun and creative? The idea came to me to write about it because at newAD we are now talking to one of our clients, an IT company, to use viral campaigns as part of their marketing plan. With viral marketing, online campaigns get a life of their own, because, if the […]
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