In the late spring/early summer of 2008 a B2B client hired my firm, Johnson Direct LLC, to undertake a comprehensive marketing audit that included primary and secondary research, customer analytics, a short and long-term marketing plan and recommended tactics to achieve strategic goals that we helped establish. The beginning of my Direct Branding process. Pretty straight-forward marketing stuff, albeit comprehensive and a bit complicated, time consuming and a decent investment.
My team went to work, got good and dirty, visited trade shows, talked to editors and reporters, interviewed experts, reviewed market segments and opportunities, did a competitive marketing audit, complete with positioning in each segment, met and talked with the sales reps, and combed the internet for materials.
This process took a good six to seven months to complete.
As the process unfolded, the economy got worse, then terrible and then horrific. I was sure the client was going to abandon the recommended tactics of the plan, which began with advertising once the new identity, re-positioning and re-branding were completed.
I was wrong.
The company president had the foresight to move forward and put his faith in my team’s comprehensive research and plan. I am sure glad he did. And, so is he? How can I be so sure?
After the first ad ran, they secured a very large sale (large enough to pay for the ENTIRE audit and advertising/marketing budget for the year). Because they tele-qualify leads, they talked to a prospect who had written the company off and was all set to purchase from a competitor. Then, he saw the new ad, did some more research, called in the sale rep and the sale commenced.
This is a true story. It’s NOT about me, my firm or our process. It’s about doing your homework and knowing that marketing, when done correctly and measured STILL works, even in this lousy economy.
Don’t dismiss this as dumb luck. Now is the perfect time to market. Afterall, your competitors are likely withdrawing. Another client just achieved a 14.3% response rate and another grew nearly 60% last year and anticipates larger growth in 2009.
Does this success come easy? Heck no. It’s a lot of work. The payoff, however, going to market with the knowledge that you understand your customers/prospects, your position in the marketplace, as well as your competitors and what differentiates you allows you to enter with a higher degree of confidence. Then there’s testing to minimize your exposure, but this post is long already.
Go for it! Market intelligently and market away. You’ll gain market share and you’ll be growing while your competition is huddled under their blankets, afraid that success will remain elusive. I know you’ll prove them wrong.
Grant A. Johnson
Johnson Direct LLC