We conclude yesterday’s article on the two key challenges facing marketers in 2009 by discussing some short-term marketing solutions which will address current needs yet still contribute to long-term brand equity.
In the current climate it is understandable that marketers are scrabbling for short-term solutions to compensate for wider financial constraints, but aggressive pricing and slashed marketing budgets may not be the long-term answer.
Cutting prices, for example, may make your offering more affordable and available to the masses, but will it necessarily mean greater profits? Even if you are still covering your costs, are you ultimately damaging your brand image? Are you becoming known as a ‘cheap’ provider in more ways than one – that is to say will your hard earned brand reputation become tarnished as you become known for being a cut-price provider? Worse than that is the scenario where people become so confused by conflicting messages that they don’t really understand what kind of provider you are at all, and so steer clear altogether.
Some degree of discounting may be inevitable in the current climate – especially if that’s what all your competitors are doing. But cost-cutting should certainly not be done in isolation, or without due consideration. Other tactics to consider may include measures to encourage customer loyalty, improve customer service, or add value to your brand in some other way.
For example, a slightly revised product addition to your portfolio may meet the needs of those looking for a cheaper solution from you. Alternatively, you may wish to target new markets not all will be affected by the recession to the same degree. Equally, you might wish to concentrate more on relationship marketing in an effort to retain existing customers by increasing their satisfaction and their loyalty. All of these actions have the potential to continue to be profitable for you long after the economy turns around and, importantly, they can all add value in a way that remains consistent with your brand.
In summary, do not compromise your brand position and brand values. Make sure your marketing goals are clear and that every action is taken with your overall brand strategy in mind.