Apart from those running marvellous loyalty programmes of course
So now we know. Stationery has priority over marketing for the majority of SMEs. It even comes before spending on ‘competitiveness’ which we take to mean making sure our offering is better than that of our competitor
What this means in practice is that as soon as there is a downturn, companies pull back on spend and guess what? Marketing gets cut first.
Which is crazy. Remember 2008? The companies that did best during that horrendous, investor induced crash, were those who fought hard, kept going with their marketing plan, kept the advertising budget in place and spent their way out of the recession.
Time and again, this economics master class is found to work.
David Hood, director of the Edinburgh Institute who describes himself as a specialist in strategic, competitive advantage, revenue, cryptocurrencies and real value for the citizen, customer and client says: “SME’s spend more than £23,000 per annum on digital services from LinkedIn, Google and Facebook. Ad spend is good (if and where it works), but what about getting the OFFER right in the first place? Surely that makes the spend on anything even more likely to convert to returns and rewards – so you are not flogging something that is merely interesting, but instead focusing all efforts to create and sustain an offer that is irrefusable and stands out from other options that are open to the Prospect, Customer or Client?
“It is something I have never understood, since entering the world of marketing and commerce,” he addes. “Companies spend a LOT of hard-earned cash, or funding, on making good their bad decisions, but don’t spend much making sure their decisions are right in the first place.
David asks three very pertinent questions, which should be doing the rounds in every marketing department and boardroom.
• Is profit your ideal motive? Just ‘doing more’?
• What about Flow of value being more important than ‘sweating’ capacity and making sure resources are ‘busy’?
• Can you focus on one constraint preventing success in your market?
As the entries flood in for the International Loyalty Awards, www.internationalloyaltyawards.com which celebrates the very best of customer retention initiatives throughout the world, how about this last question from David: “Is it possible to progress from obsessing about cost and push, to throughput and pull? From arbitrary targets to what the market can demand of you?
Loyalty is a proven way to connect with customers, in any business. But the brand must not forget that to keep that program fresh, alive and in front of the customer takes spend – marketing spend not stationery.