Business Advice

I smell a triple dip coming (and here are the 3 things you need to do)

Thinking back to 2008, the signs were clear that the economy was about to collapse.

And we haven’t recovered since then.  Not really.  Not in real terms.

I’m now getting the genuine sense that the UK is about to faceplant a triple-dipper.  Which is bad news for everyone concerned.

Let me share with you 3 pieces of advice to help you make the most of the climate and maybe make more money.

Piece of advice #1: Don’t cut marketing

I would say that, wouldn’t I?

After all, marketing is my discipline, my passion.

But the worst thing that you can do right now is cut your marketing and promotion activity.

Consumers are changing their behaviours faster than at any time I can remember and are more open to change than ever before.

If you cut your marketing work now, all you will do is decrease your visibility in a crowded – and increasingly desperate – marketplace.

You need to keep your awareness levels strong, communicate consistently and target the right people (see next point).

Piece of advice #2: Cut bad marketing

Take the coming dip as an opportunity to re-evaluate everything that you do.

Don’t pump money into what you’ve always done, because the current economic climate suggests that this will be diminishing return.

Instead, ask yourself (and your brand) three key questions:

  1. Who is my customer?
  2. What does my customer want to do?
  3. What do they do now?
  4. How does our product or offering form a bridge between these two positions?

Don’t fall into the trap of coming up with “sell more stuff”, “sell some stuff” and “increase sales”.  That’s not it at all.

Be specific.  Incredibly specific.

The more specific you are, the better your marketing output will become because you’ll be wholly focussed on your customers and their specific needs.

Piece of advice #3: Be realistic

Recent research from CEBR suggests that small businesses are losing £122 BILLION a year in sales due to insufficient marketing.

That’s a lot of money, and a lovely headline.

But let’s look beyond the headline for a moment.  There are two possible conclusions:

  1. Businesses are laying down marketing plans and failing to deliver them due to time and resources.
  2. Businesses aren’t doing enough marketing.

These are two completely different things.

In point 1, we see the dangers of unrealistic marketing plans.  It’s fine to create something all singing and dancing, but if there’s only one of you to deliver it in a morning a week, you’re going to fail and give yourself a nervous breakdown in the process.

Be realistic about what you can achieve.  It’s better to under promise and over achieve – so design a plan around what you know you can do in a month, a quarter and in a year.

Deliver a few projects brilliantly, not loads of projects acceptably.  Customers remember brilliance and forget the forgettable.

Point 2 is a different situation – and I’d wager that for many businesses, it’s not the volume of the marketing that’s the problem – it’s the quality of the marketing.

If you’ve been through my second piece of advice above, you’ll have a razor sharp view of your customer and your product, allowing you to be precise in the way that you target them.

So you know what to cut out of your plan, and what to keep in.

You might find that your plan goes from 50 action points to 17.  But those 17 will be brilliant and effective, allowing you to achieve more and deliver a much better return on your investment.

Three pieces of advice, three easily achievable things for you and your business. 

The coming 12 months are going to be a real kicker for the UK and global economies.  So get yourself in shape now, and you could find that you remain standing while others around you crumble…

Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
You can follow Neil on Twitter, circle him (like an escaped bull) on Google+ or track him down in any number of other ways.

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