Archive for the ‘Recession’ Category
With seemingly nothing but more doom and gloom on the economic horizon, it’s always encouraging to read tales of businesses that have seized upon the opportunities presented by the difficult economic climate and successfully turned things to their advantage.
Return on investment – or ROI – has taken on increasing importance over the last few years. The recession, in particular, has forced marketing departments – among others – to monitor and measure the success of their marketing spend, sometimes relying on ROI to justify their outlay.
However, a new study by Omniture has found that more than half (55%) of marketers claim they cannot effectively measure their marketing ROI. The online survey, conducted between January and April this year, sought the views of more than 600 marketers.
The survey found that, while 69% are using social media for marketing purposes, 41% of those do not have a way to measure social media conversion. A further 43% of marketers said that online videos formed part of their strategy, but more than two-thirds (70%) were also unable to measure post-video conversion.
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Everybody knows that 2009 was a tough year, with marketing budgets in particular feeling the strain. Yet things are looking more promising for 2010 already – and on both sides of the Atlantic!
A survey conducted at the end of 2010 in the United States showed good news for marketers after a year in which 60% of b-to-b marketers slashed their budgets. BtoB’s “2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans” report, based on an online survey of 376 B2B marketers, found that although almost half plan to maintain their existing budgets, nearly 40% will increase spending in 2010. Just 13% will be reducing their marketing spend this year.
As with last year, online marketing – including website development, e-mail marketing, search, social media, online video and webcasts – looks set to see the biggest boosts. This medium is widely acknowledged as being both cost-effective and measurable. Spending on innovative direct marketing and customer events both look set to rise also. More about this report can be found here.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the latest IPA/BDO Bellwether report indicates that optimism and confidence are growing. In spite of the report showing a ninth consecutive quarter of declining marketing spend, the rate of decline is clearly slowing. Spend is down only 7% compared to 15% in the previous quarter.
Indeed, marketing budgets for 2010 have been set higher than those in 2009 and, with 35% of businesses surveyed seeing improved prospects, companies are the most optimistic they have been for the past five years.
As with the trends seen in the US, online advertising budgets were revised upwards for the second quarter running while direct marketing budgets have also increased (by 2.2%) for the first time since 2007.
Why not read our white paper, Marketing Strategies in a Recession?
Following Monday’s blog entry we can report that recent market research by B2B International shows that London’s entrepreneurs are more optimistic for 2010
London’s small businesses report that the recession is now having less of an impact on their business and levels of optimism and resilience remain high after the final quarter of the year, according to Business Link in London’s latest Business Confidence Index carried out by B2B International.
Although 69% of entrepreneurs tell us they are still affected by the recession, the impact is less significant – only 13% reporting they are extremely affected. This is a significant drop from 21% in July 2009.
The quarterly business confidence Index measures business sentiment of over 3,300 small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
This unique survey takes into account variations such as industry sector, sub-regional location, business types and business ownership (gender, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME), Deaf and disabled).
Commenting on the Index, Patrick Elliott, Chief Executive of Business Link in London said: “Small businesses have always been resilient during times of economic upheaval due to their ability to adapt quickly. This flexibility, combined with their survival strategies and optimism, are likely to have shielded some businesses from the full force of the recession.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “For the second week running another survey shows London’s small businesses can see light at the end of the tunnel. We have been working hard on their behalf and it is rewarding to see this sustained growth in confidence and to hear that, as we start turning the corner, our businesses are optimistic for the future.”
Mr Elliott continued: “However, entrepreneurs are not yet immune to the continuing tough economic climate. A note of caution is necessary to manage the months ahead.”
Reduced customer spending and sales generation are still key problems faced by established businesses. However, their impact on businesses has dropped significantly with only 20% concerned with customer spend in October, compared to 36% in July.
The food and drink sector is fairing better than it was in July due to increased customer spend. However, we are seeing a gloomier picture for the retail sector as customers cut back on purchases.
Declining profits and sales and cashflow constraints top the list of business activities hardest hit by the recession.
More home businesses are optimistic than ever before. They are telling us that they are marginally less affected by the recession than other business types (42% vs. 44%) and that they’re inclined to be slightly more optimistic about their overall future (17% vs. 14%).
Growth and optimism remain high on the agenda for the majority of those surveyed. The number of businesses looking to grow has increased from over half (59%) in February, to 63% in October. Levels of optimism remain unchanged since July (73% vs. 75%) with almost three quarters of those surveyed continuing to be optimistic about their overall business success.
“This cautious optimism is exactly what we advocate. The Index shows that entrepreneurs are refusing to get bogged down in the doom and gloom. Their strategies to tackle the worst impact of the recession are paying dividends,” continued Mr Elliott.
Online sales and trading have emerged as popular choices for growth over the next twelve months, making their way into the top 5 strategies considered. Despite this, increased marketing remains the top tactic favoured by businesses.
The manufacturing and property sectors are least likely to grow which suggests that they are simply concentrating on survival.
Two in five respondents are not planning on making further changes to their business to deal with the recession, an increase of 16% since July (40% vs. 24%). This is further evidence that businesses feel closer to recovery.
If you are a London based business and interested in taking part in the next quarterly Business Confidence Index then please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who would be your vote for marketer of the year? Well, according to a recent survey by AdAge, there was one clear winner – auto manufacturer Hyundai. So, why Hyundai?
Earlier in the year, at a time when the economy was hitting the depths of doom, gloom and despair, most advertisers were trying to cheer us up with promises of happiness and escapism. Not so, a certain South Korea-based car manufacturer.
Instead, the message from Hyundai was “Now finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if you lose your income in the next year, you can return it with no impact on your credit.”
This message acknowledged the concerns felt by many consumers and really struck a chord – so much so that, when asked, 40% of AdAge readers selected Hyundai as their top marketer of 2009.
In an industry that has had a notoriously difficult year, many auto competitors slashed their budgets. Yet Hyundai went from strength to strength, with sales and market share increasing and its brand image receiving a real boost.
U.S. market share in fact jumped to 4.3% in the first ten months of 2009, which compares favorably to 3.1% in the same period of 2008. Indeed, when, in September, the U.S. automobile industry overall suffered a 22% sales drop, Hyundai actually increased its new vehicle tally by 27%.
Originally entering the U.S market in 1986 with small, affordable models, early success was followed by a mixture of highs and lows. But the introduction of their Hyundai Assurance program at the start of this year, allowing buyers or lessees to return their new vehicles for up to a year if they lost their jobs – as well as the ‘Gas Assurance’ program the company rolled out over the summer to cap its customers’ gasoline costs at $1.49 a gallon – has heralded the start of a period of marked success.
According to a post-Super Bowl survey in February of this year, 43% of respondents watching the Hyundai Super Bowl adverts said their opinion of the brand had improved. The adverts, combined with positive press concerning the Assurance program, meant that consideration for new Hyundai vehicles jumped to 59% in the first two months of the year. Despite the recession, June 2009 marked Hyundai’s best monthly sales tally ever, and in the same month the brand ranked fourth in J.D. Power and Associates’ annual Initial Quality Survey in which consumers rate their new vehicles at 90 days of ownership; in 2008, Hyundai had ranked thirteenth in the same survey.
All of this goes to show that brands can triumph in the face of adversity. Times have been tough but Hyundai did not slash its marketing budget. Nor did it slash it prices, change its fundamental brand messages, or adopt some other knee-jerk reaction to the recession which could easily have undone all the work it had put in to building its brand values over the course of 20 years or more. Instead, it listened to and even anticipated the concerns of its target market, seeking to reassure customers that Hyundai continued to offer a quality product but adding value by offering extra guarantees and assurances. Of course other car manufacturers have since followed suit, but Hyundai has certainly benefited from being quick off the mark.