Remaining Lean for a Fatter Market

The bottom fell out of the economy and many are still struggling to stay afloat. Although the market has been on the incline, exactly how much of a recovery still remains to be seen.

Les Margulis, who has a long history in media agency management, presents the question in his economic hypothesis, “Media in a Tight Economy: Making That Budget Go Further,”: What can you do to make a difference for your company during these lean times?

The answer?

Continue with your marketing strategies while still keeping your bottom line in mind.

Don’t panic!
Be objective about your company’s capabilities. The more faith and security you have in your product, staff and mission, the better you can package your marketing message to your consumers.

Be an entrepreneur.
Remember when you first started your business? The rush of brainstorming new ideas, tackling obstacles and telling the world that, “Yes! I have arrived”? Use that entrepreneurial spirit to re‐evaluate your product.

Also look to maximize your cash flow by getting rid of unused items or services.

Create a list of “Things to Do.”
Keep a running tab of your work schedule, as this will give a better idea of where your time is being spent. If you establish a pattern of clients that do not help support you, fire them. Don’t waste time with clients who do not value your services. Focus more on those who do.

…maximize your cash flow by getting rid of unused items or services.

Keep your sales process simple.
Prospect for new clients, qualify new clients, quote, move to a decision to buy then try to generate repeat sales. Remain invested in your business relationships as 80 percent of your business is sustained by 20 percent of your client base. Continuously research and target at least one key person in every customer organization to maintain contact.

Get a Ph.D. in communication.
In most relationships, it is just as important to listen as well as be heard. Learn to be a problem solver by not only listening to what clients are saying, but also to what they are not saying. Remember: clients are meeting you for your expertise. It is your responsibility to educate them about your product as well as become educated about their needs.

Try to create a pleasing, simplified, professional look that is consistent with your company’s message.

Make your presentations work harder.
There are a few, simple ways to make your presentations better:

  • be prepared
  • utilize PowerPoint® or your favorite presentation software
  • practice, practice, practice.

It may seem like a no‐brainer to be prepared, but presenters have been known to stumble because of equipment failure or missing information.

Don’t settle for black‐and‐white slides that bore your clients with mundane facts and rambling text. Try to create a pleasing, simplified, professional look that is consistent with your company’s message.

“Practice makes perfect,” as the saying goes. Be sure to do a few run‐throughs of your presentation with all who are involved. This allows a familiarity with the material, decreases mistakes, and leaves room to play off one another in the event a problem does occur.

So before you follow the herd and slash your marketing dollars, take a deep breath and step back. Drastic cuts in brand investment can undermine your company’s goals. Continue to invest in marketing during these lean times, or you run the risk of eliminating yourself as competition when the market is fatter.

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