Why We’re Not Participating in the Recession
In the first place, who wants to be a part of self-fulfilling prophesies? It's impossible to miss the doom-and-gloom predictions from economists on the broadcast news, but how about a few tips about avoiding becoming a victim? We're finding plenty of smart companies who are taking advantage of uncertain times to stand out from the crowd with marketing that works.
MarketingSherpa just released results from a study of small, medium, and large businesses and their responses to marketing during a downturn. Among the tips and insights in this two part, fifty page report: Spend more on actual advertising media and less on marketing overhead. Concentrate on delivering impressions and messages that prospects actually see. The strategy should be to get current results rather than long-term awareness building.
Small and medium size companies in growth stages simply cannot afford to cut back on their marketing spend. The downturn creates more opportunity for them to continue their growth. But they will be spending more cautiously looking for getting many small wins rather than big gainers.
Thirty percent of survey respondents said they are increasing direct marketing investments. To do this even when budgets are tight, reductions are being made in radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine advertising. Nearly 60% of those surveyed are cutting their broadcast spend and 44% report cuts in print advertising spending. Promotional products are growing because of the low cost per impression (a key metric for advertisers), and the ability to track ROI in a well-designed campaign. Some 42% report a nice hike in event marketing spending and 29% an increase in direct marketing spending.
There's plenty of history that reinforces this trend. Take a look at some previous recessions: way back in 1975, promotional products increased 9.6%. 1980-81, 15.2%. 1990, another increase, this time 11.9%. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Promotional products are one of the most targeted methods of advertising, and are capable of many repeat impressions. Effective branding depends on that.
Humane Society is Barking up Right Tree
Upfront gifts from non-profits to prospective donors are nothing new, but they’re usually low-cost items like address labels, greeting cards and notepads. Not so with a recent mailing from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The organization sent prospective members a beautiful vinyl tote, complete with Velcro closure, zippered front pocket and beautiful puppy-themed artwork.
“In its direct marketing program, the HSUS often mails premiums to prospective and current donors,” says Nancy Campbell, DM director for the group. “Upfront totebags were tested previously, and we did rollout with a mailing to prospective donors in early January 2008.”
Campbell didn’t want to give away trade secrets by commenting further on how the product was chosen, but it’s clear that her team made sure that both the bag and the artwork were high quality. The targeted audience, gleaned from lists rented from or exchanged with other entities, must have been considered good prospects.
She did reveal that by early March the promo had come close to meeting its goal for recruiting new members and supporters. HSUS also got great feedback about the totes from recipients. “Members have said people comment on how nice they are and want to know how to get one,” says Charlotte Mead of the membership department.
She added that some recipients called and wanted extras to use as gifts or because they’d lost theirs. “The one I recall that was extreme is a lady who had her car stolen, and the bag was in it,” Mead says. “She desperately wanted another bag.”
Better still, the requests for extra bags have been accompanied by additional donations. Just one more example of how the right promotional product can generate a real return on investment.