During your journey through the seas and oceans, you encountered the storm caused by the pandemic of SARS-CoV-2. You can now do two things. Either roll up the sails and wait for the better weather making sure your ship doesn’t suffer much, or sail across the rogue waves and escape the tempest. No matter, what you choose, you need to know your boat and what your crew is capable of
What stands for marketing on your ship? A sailor, map and compass, or a ship’s wheel?
What is marketing?
Let’s drop these maritime metaphors for a while. Marketing is commonly seen as media advertisements, sales and discounts, and labels on footballers’ tees. The thing is, that’s not marketing. I don’t say marketers never deal with stuff like that, but it’s only a small part of our duties.
There’ve been many ideas on how to describe the essence of marketing. In this article, I share two that are my favorite.
The elements of marketing
A long, long time ago Edmund Jerome McCarthy described the 4Ps of marketing, know also as the marketing mix. Even though it doesn’t appear to be so, things don’t change much in business and marketing. That’s why I want to remind you what the 4Ps are about.
- Product, or service, anything you sell. What is it? Do you do it right? The best? What technologies do you use? Is it something completely new, or a well-known solution?
- Promotion, advertisement, PR, sponsoring, etc. Everything you do to convince prospects to become your clients.
- Place, your distribution. Where can we buy your product? How many clicks do I need to pay for something I order online? Will you deliver it door-to-door, or I will have to stand in a line at the post office?
- Price, how much does it cost? Are you less or more expensive than competitors? Can I count on a discount?
5 forces on the market
Are you surprised that most of your business is actually marketing? It was just the first concept. The other one of my favorites was described by Michael Eugene Porter in his article from 1979. According to his assumptions, Porter’s 5 forces analysis lets you evaluate the attractiveness of the market.
- Threat of new entrants – how easy it is to start a business on your market? What are entry barriers and the risk of emergence of new competitors?
- Bargaining power of suppliers – is it you, who dictates the terms or your suppliers?
- Bargaining power of customers – again, can your client move to your competitors easily, where they sell the same goods as you?
- Threat of substitute products or services – this one is my favorite. Do you even know what are the substitutes for your product? Does the need you satisfy can be quenched with anything else?
- Jockeying for position among current competitors –are you all exhausted by the price war, or maybe the cake is big enough for everybody?
In my opinion, marketing covers everything that applies to your presence on the market. That’s why, if you want to save money on marketing, you need to improve the way your business goes. The best way to save is optimization.
How to start spending less on marketing?
In crisis, we tend to look closely at expenses. Generally, frugality is a virtue. During a crisis, when you’re not making bank, you want to spend wisely. But why saving on marketing? Well, for many businessmen marketing is the first one to cut. Are they right?
It depends. I find it crucial not to change the course blindly. Don’t cut your costs mindlessly.
You can look at this problem from two perspectives. Ideally, from both at the same time. Check what’s working for your business, and what doesn’t. I hope you know your numbers and know what brings you money, and what takes it away? It was as far back as the fifties when Peter Drucker paid attention to discard activities that don’t earn money and focus on what does.
When you find out, what’s what, I suggest two actions.
First of all, try to improve what’s worked. Second, take a closer look at ineffective operations. Maybe you can mend them and they will start being profitable. Otherwise, stop wasting your time and effort. It’s just needless ballast.
What exactly should you do? Roll up the sails or give it full speed ahead? There’s no universal answer to this question. You need to carry out at least a skin-deep audit.
In the following paragraphs, you will read about ways to optimize marketing expenditure, namely your business promotion.
Spend less on promotion – 7 ways
Choosing any of these ideas should depend on the outcome of your company analysis and its current situation. Your decision will be different in various stages of business development as well. Without further ado. Here is the list.
- Outsourcing – if everything has been on your shoulders so far, it may paradoxically be worth delegating some actions to someone who specializes in them (e.g. SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing). An expert will achieve better results than you, and you will gain time for what your customers pay for;
- DIY – on the other hand, if you are just starting, you can take care of many things yourself (website, social media, company blog). The most basic knowledge about promotion and marketing in general, you can get virtually free on the Internet. So if you have more time than money, try doing things on your own. Moreover, it will make you understand your future marketers better;
- Social media – not every company must be on Facebook. Anyway, this market also has a lot to choose from: FB, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vkontakte, and many more. Before you make a decision, consider which social media suits your business. It depends on who your customers are, what media they use, and the character of your business brand. The great advantage of social media is that they allow advertisers to reach very specifically targeted groups. Thanks to this, you don’t waste money on communicating with someone who won’t buy your product anyway;
- Own website – although it is worth being on social media, it is also useful to own media. Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok can change the rules at any time. It’s their private business and entering there means you have to obey the rules. Your website has far fewer restrictions. You can publish exactly what you want and what your customers need. Additionally, this is not only a promotion channel but also a distribution channel as well. Your own website is one of the basic ways to implement content marketing too. It is a place (e.g. on a company blog) where you can publish particularly valuable Case Studies, describe ideas for using your product, or show how certain processes look behind the scenes. It all influences the perception of your company and its credibility. The texts spiced with good copywriting will be a great sales tool. Besides, well-designed content is important for SEO, and thus reaching your future customers;
- E-book – also, it’s free! Not entirely, of course. Inside, your reader will find valuable information. E.g. an in-depth Case study straight from your industry. Or practical tips on how to get the most out of your product. In return, they provide you with their email addresses for your newsletter. Even if you don’t have one yet;
- Newsletter – it is another way to reach audiences bypassing the paid media. If you create a newsletter valuable to readers, you will be able to establish a relationship with them, which in the long run translates into better brand perception, customer loyalty, and higher sales;
- Marketing automation – the implementation of a computer system that collects and analyzes data of potential and actual clients, to create relevant offers. Such a system can also deal with mailing, upselling, and cross-selling. Marketing automation allows you to measure the effectiveness of your activities as well. As a result, you can constantly improve your sales performance.
Where to find marketing specialists?
The Coronavirus crisis has made many entrepreneurs take a closer look at their business for the first time. The situation in which they found themselves is the right moment not only fora deeper reflection but also to rush ahead. What I mean is the improvement and intensification of marketing activities. The customers you attract now will also be with you in times of prosperity. Others will be attracted by the fame of the Captain, who led his ship through rough waters.
You can’t do everything on your own. Drop me a line, to help you. If you need support exceeding my expertise, I know the right people to take care of it.
main picture: https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782