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Marketing In An Economic Recession #5

Blackboard start This is the fifth installment in our series things you should consider when marketing in a recession.  Yesterday we promised you four things you should start to do right now that will make a difference in your market position in the future.  Let's go:

Reevaluate Your Marketing Plan:  Sure that sounds easy but what I'm asking you to do is go into your best thinking mode and really look at your marketing plan.  In 2009 have you positioned yourself as well as you can?  If you used to do eight trade shows will four work?  Check the print advertising do you REALLY need to be in all of those trade magazines?  Check the ones that really hit your demographic and don't always buy price.  There is a reason some things are really cheap!  The best advice we can give you IF you have a marketing plan that is well thought out follow it.  If you don't have a solid marketing plan you will not be able to have a realistic budget going ahead.   We're not joking.

Reevaluate Your Mind:  If you are one of the folks that relegate your marketing and advertising to an "expense" item rather than an investment.... get ready to put the "For Sale" sign up.  Look,  when you pull back on advertising and marketing SOMEBODY is going to swoop in and take your market share.  IF you have been paying attention over the past few days we've given you SOLID historical examples of how you can build market share in a recession. 

Take Advertising and Marketing Seriously:  We know of plenty of business leaders who have "Mary" the "Front Office Girl" track and take care of their marketing and advertising.  We're not kidding.  The boss gives out a list of media people he/she will talk to and if anybody else calls, "Tell them you'll take a message."  Stop!  You never know what new idea will save your butt.  If you have a "Sales and Marketing" director ask that person to spend as much time on "directing" your advertising and marketing budget then he/she does trying to build your dealer network.  And, if you are working with an agency and that agency isn't bringing you new ideas or business updates.  Gosh, call us.  And, if all of this is too scary...again, call us for cryin' out loud.

Get Some Serious Help:  Ok, here's the pitch.  If all of this stuff makes your head spin and you would rather be out on the sales/shop floor or if you would much rather be pounding the road looking for dealers...or if "Mary The Front Office Girl" called in sick.  Call us.  Seriously.  Let's be honest, I have NO idea how to make the "Self Weasel Winding Torque Inducer" you folks make.  No idea.  But...I'll bet you we can find new and exciting ways to SELL it!  That's what we do...everyday.

We're here all the time working on behalf of our clients.  Perhaps, if things are right we can do the same for you.  Thanks for reading and let's go get 'em!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where advertising, marketing and communications is what we do for people every day.  Name sort of fits huh?

Marketing In An Economic Recession #4

Four Still with us on day four in our series of marketing and advertising during an economic recession?  Good deal!  Yesterday we said we would offer you some prime examples of real life stories where corporations used an economic downturn to build market share.  Their their secret was to change their message to mirror customer concerns about the economy.  Thanks to RMR & Associates for these great examples we think you'll see what we're talking about and how you might adjust your message:

Glass Plus/Ziploc:  Dow, the maker of Glass Plus cleaner made the decision to shift money from promoting the cleaning product to introduce the world to a new product, Ziploc, that protects the freshness of leftovers.  It's called innovation!

A1 Steak Sauce:   Some of you might remember this slogan:  "A-1 Steak Sauce isn't just for sirloin anymore."  The company turned the message to promote using it on hamburger.  A great switch of benefits!

Quaker Oats:   Sales were in a slump when Quaker decided to increase spending to promote the message that it's grain product was also an inexpensive source of protein.  Then they stressed value when actor Wilfred Brimley said, "A bowl costs you one nickel and four pennies."  The result was powerful sales!

Wendy's:  Dave Thomas knew how to talk directly to his customers and he met the recession head-on with this message: "Look, I know you have less to spend these days, but that doesn't mean you have to eat less."  Being honest and direct wins!

Taking a message of efficiency and value to consumers during an economic slowdown hits home.  You might consider how your product or service can be better marketed to match the economic reality of the day.  And, then do it!

Tomorrow we'll review and give you four action steps that you can build on in the months ahead.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Hey, thanks for reading and if we can help...shoot us an e-mail.




Marketing In An Economic Recession #3

Woman Suspicious Day Three of our series about how to build market share and giving you proof that those who increase their marketing budget during tough economic

"Are rival companies creating opportunity for you?"  That is one of the questions answered by the Harvard Business Review when they wrote:  "The company courageous enough to stay in the fight when everyone else is playing safe can bring about a dramatic change in market position."  And, they added, "Advertising should be regarded not as a drain on profits but as a contributor to profits, not as an unavoidable expense but as a means of achieving objectives.  Ad budgets should be related to the company's goals instead of to last year's sales or to next year's promises."  (Harvard Business Review - Jan/Feb 1980)

That, my friends, is still true today.

Here are three things you can do today to turn this economic mess into opportunity:

1)  Watch what rivals are doing.  If they are cutting back consider increasing your marketing budget.  Hit harder and win market share.

2)  Shop for deals.  Look, we are getting solicitations from media companies who are cutting rates.  You can lock in some great fourth and first quarter advertising rates if you shop...and ask.

3)  Stress benefits.  Your customers are looking for value.  Give them the reasons they should invest in your product or service.


4)  Marketing mix review.  Are you spending your dollars in the most effective places for your prime demographic?  Do you know? 

Tomorrow examples of what works.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we seek solutions for our clients...every day.


Should Your Firm Blog?

Web Words I'm struck by the number of companies and management types that think social networking is a waste of time.  Or worse, those companies who have made the decision to use social media tools but then quit.  We just don't get it.  So, let me (once again) set out the case for using social media to bring awareness to your product or service.  Pay attention.

If you, today, have a website congratulations.  You are one quarter of the way there.  Now, just HOW do you figure somebody is going to be able to FIND you using the Internet?  Will you:

ONE:    Pay a company to "optimize"  your website?  Good...but not great.

TWO:   Attempt to "go it alone" and buy "Google Words" to drive traffic?  Can get pricey.

THREE:  Pay your "webmaster" to update your Website daily?  Really...

FOUR:    Buy print advertising to push your site?  Can be very expensive.

Here is another question.  Does your existing website offer your potential customers the opportunity to get to "know" you?  People still buy from people and if your website has the personality of a stop sign how do your customers hear your voice?

What if I gave you the power to interact with thousands of potential customers and clients...daily?  What if you had the power to share your ideas, sales opportunities, personality (well...some of you anyway) and insight into why your product or service is great?  What if you had the power to influence the Internet to push you and your product or service to the top of a search?

And, all you have to do is sit down, three or four times a week, and share with the world how exceptional your company is...

Got nothing to say?  Bet you do.  All you need to do to make this happen is START and then STAY at it.

One final question:  If BLOGGING is such a waste of time...  Why is it that every major  TV network, newspaper, political campaign and thousands of companies large and small do it? 

Get started...

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - There is a reason part of our name is "communications".



What Will A New Logo Cost Me?

Those of you responsible for marketing and advertising have come to Insight Advertising over the years and asked this very question.  Some have asked what it would cost for new bags, what might it cost to launch a new product or service.  How about a website? Each time we've been asked to come up with a "look", a logo or some other design project we've hit a major league home run.  And our cost?  Based on this story...looks like we're under charging!

PEPSI Logos Pepsi has spent the past five months in a logo remake.  Five months.  Omnicom's Arnell Group was called in for the remake.  Nobody at the agency is talking but, according to high level folks in other agencies the cost to re-do the logo? $1,000,000.

Let me spell it:  One Million Dollars

And, that is a fraction of what it will cost to re-do signs, logos on websites, etc.  For those of you interested in the details, here is the story from our friends at Advertising Age.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we promise we won't charge you quite this much!

Marketing In An Economic Recession #2

1981 President Still with us?  In this series of reports we're looking at historical realities and offering you solid ideas of what you should be doing right now as you look toward the future.  You can actually BUILD market share during a recession IF you act.  Let's go:

If you remember we had a national recession back in 1981 that lasted a good two years.  Following the event McGraw-Hill studied what happened to 600 industrial companies.  They found that those B to B firms who maintained or increased their advertising/marketing budgets averaged much higher sales growth during AND after the economic downturn than did the companies who decreased or canceled their advertising/marketing budget.

Kelloggs logo Here is a story told to me just the other day.  It dates back to 1928 at the dawn of the Great Depression.  At that time there were two giants in the food industry that had been butting heads for years.  Post and Kellogg.  It was a classic battle of branding warfare. 

When the Depression hit Post made a decision to cut/reduce their marketing dollars.  Kellogg increased their consumer based advertising.  The result:  Kellogg took over the market share and even 60 years later Post was still well behind.

It seems Kellogg has not forgotten that story because just a week ago Kellogg announced they are increasing their marketing budget over last year! 

Tomorrow we'll give you even further insight (excuse the pun) of how successful companies have used recession economies to expand their market share.  And later in the week we'll give you some ideas of what you might do.  Hang in their and let's capture market share together!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

What Should You Do? What You Should Do!

Man stocks down Times are tough that means it's time to FINE TUNE your advertising and marketing program.  Look, we are not blowing smoke here.  What we're about to share with you are factual events looking at past recession markets and how the smart companies used the recession to IMPROVE their market share.

In other is not the time to cut your marketing budget.

Each day this week we'll bring you up to speed on what companies have done in the past as they faced the very same decisions you are looking at today.   We'll tell you what they did...and what happened.  Let's get started:

From "How Advertising in Recession Periods Affects Sales" (ABP, Inc. 1979):  You might not remember, but 1970 was a Recession Year.  In a study by American Business Press and Meldrum & Fewsmith we learned that, "sales and profits can be maintained and even increased in recession years and in the years immediately following, by those who are willing to maintain an aggressive market posture.  Those who adopt the philosophy of cutting back on promotional efforts tend to see sales harder to get."

Or, this from the same study focusing on the recession years of 1974 - 1975:  "Companies which did not cut marketing expenditures experienced higher sales and net income during those two years and the two years following than those companies which cut in either or both recession years."

Look we're not in the advertising business to talk you into something you SHOULD NOT DO.  We're here to help you survive and thrive.  And give you solid information on what YOU SHOULD DO.  That's our job.  Your job should be to continue to build market share by innovative marketing and advertising that impacts your core consumer.

Let's do this thing.

Tomorrow we'll look at the recession years 1981 - 1982.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we help our clients succeed in good times and bad.

Outdoors & Buck Naked!

Buck Naked A quick post about The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour tonight at 7:00 on 98.3 WOW-FM (983wowfm):  Not only will we be talking about the Pheasant numbers in Iowa but we're also going to spend a great deal of the hour talking about funding outdoor activities here in Central Iowa through the Polk County Conservation system.  "Buck Naked Need Dough" is an annual event that raises money for The Great Outdoors Fund which in turn supports trail systems, wetlands, wildlife control like the local Deer Taskforce and a number of projects for folks who love the outdoors.

We think it will be a great show and we're looking forward to talking with James Dotzler from Polk County Conservation.  Come on by for a listen...or better yet, plan on attending Buck Naked Need Dough this Friday evening from 6 - 10 at the 7 Flags Event Center in Urbandale!

When Writers and Geeks Collide

Man angry suit I'm just about finished with my "melt down" over the "new and improved" TypePad format.  I was having some major issues because what once took me several minutes now takes ten times as long.  There are issues with the "new and improved" system being so much slower, images not the right size and taking forever to down load and lots of other silly stuff that did not present a problem with the "old" TypePad.

They tell me they have, "... improved display access to plain text and markdown."  I have NO idea what the heck that means.  But I write...I don't configure.

We think it's what happens when geeks are not writers or Beta versions that work in a controlled environment don't work so well "out here".

I remember when we launched  AgDeal was a new equipment portal for agriculture that, in 1998, was way ahead of its time.  In the controlled environment of our offices with our, at that time, fast connection speeds the site was very impressive.

Until we found out that farmers using 56K modems would spend half the day downloading fancy photos of new equipment.  It didn't take us long to fix...but the first go was, shall we say, a problem.

Maybe that is what went on in this case.  We're not sure.  We do know it is frustrating to work at a snails pace.  We do have to hand it to the "Knowledge Base" at TypePad they did get back to me in record time.  However I've not yet had the heart to fill out all the questions...but will.

In the meantime we'll continue to work within the "new and improved" system...we've got too much invested to quit.

Anybody else having "anger management issues" with the new format?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Sunday Morning Coffee

Coffee Cu ps  Sunday Morning Coffee is the post that brings up the short and sweet impressions of the past week with just a little commentary.  Sometimes it actually something to do with advertising and marketing!  Grab a cup and let's visit.

So does anybody really like the "new" TypePad?  What once took me fifteen minutes to write now takes twice that amount of time.  I know there is a "fix" if we opt for the more simple format but I actually like to increase the size of the font and some other things we can't do with the "simple" format.  So...what the heck is a little more time huh?  And, no matter at what size I set my photos to reproduce...they come in as small.  Come on people!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Voted yet?  I did this past week here in Iowa and it's about time.  I'm finding it hard to locate anybody that is NOT ready to have this campaign end.  At one time I was an idealist and believed that our country had gotten beyond the kind of stuff I've heard on talk radio here in Des Moines.  Here is a sample of this week:

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And yet another example of the NEW sucks!  There I was just wanting to put in several bullet points and I get tag=whatever!

I'm done, this one is going to the "Knowledge Base"