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How to handle marketing during tough economic times

With the mining strike effect on the economy and the threatened NUM and Eskom, the question arises; what to do about marketing?
As always, you will hear the standard same-old stuff regurgitated. Research suggests to increase marketing spend during the tough times to grow share. But what it does not show is the whole picture - what about everything else that also happened to be going well for the brands researched?

Don't blindly follow this advice either: try new, more cost effective advertising avenues. Be smarter with your money (surely you were smart to start with?) and remember brand positioning is important - while this is always true, relevance and resonance shifts.

Some truth, some myth, some sense, some hyped-up nonsense. The situation our economy finds itself in has specific - not generic - attributes, in particular the mining sector with its strong regional impact. Therefore, treating your marketing budget in a generic way will most likely be the wrong thing to do.

We suggest revisiting your segmenting and targeting approach through a facilitated process - this includes your situational analysis, SWOT and objectives. Re-evaluating your brand's positioning to test relevance and resonance of media and messaging and realigning your marketing action plan to tap into current emotive triggers will drive customers for your long-term benefit.

The five most common errors typical of these times:
    1. Dramatic change in brand positioning - getting a new message up and running and to build support takes time and money
    2. Significant shift in media selection and key messaging - an evolutionary approach will be more fruitful at this time (unless you were way off course to start with).
    3. Demotivated, non-aligned staff - this is an important time for every employee to be a brand ambassador - what we call branding inside-out.
    4. Slash & Burn - slashing effective brand campaigns will hurt your brand. We say smarter segmenting, targeting, positioning, media choice and messaging.
    5. Allowing inexperienced people to make strategic decisions without the guidance of experienced marketers following a proven process.
There are no effective shortcuts to find the insights that will drive your strategy and action plans. Invariably you and your team have the knowledge needed to make the correct decisions. But here's our most valuable piece of advice: Retaining brand momentum is key.


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Powerhouse Advertising
We are as passionate about discovering insights and developing exciting strategy as we are about the creativity and design to achieve your objectives.
Ulli Appelbaum
Great advice Brian, thanks for sharing. Readers who find this post relevant might also want to check out, a free web based app that enables them to explore 25 tried and true positioning approaches and thus find a more relevant way to tell their brand story or sharpen their existing positioning.
Posted on 30 Jun 2014 17:12