Direct Marketing and the Economy
Q: I head up marketing at a telecom provider in the US. The last few weeks of economic news have been disheartening to say the least. My budgets have been cut and I’m having to work with less resources. Give me some ideas of what I can do to keep marketing efforts alive on a smaller budget.
A: Yep, the reports have been disheartening. And, it looks like it’ll be a while before the economy shifts back to an upward track again. The first thing to remember is that the economy (and history backs this up) is cyclical. Right now, direct marketers need to dig in and lay the groundwork for the future for when the economy turns around. You can do things now that help right away, and will also position you better for the future, too. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Our first suggestion is to really focus on — and mine — your existing customers. We always lead with analytics. Take a look at what your customers look like — do some comprehensive customer profiling. Once you have a clear idea of what your existing customers look like, then look at what telecommunications services that they currently purchase from you today. Are these customers on the optimal calling plans? If not, have your sales force spend their optimizing your loyal customers so that they don’t leave you for a better offer.
Next, take a closer look at what services you can offer your different customer segments. For example (I’m not sure of your exact service offerings, but), if they are currently long distance customers and you also offer wireless services, see if you can get them to sign up for a combined package for both. This way, you are increasing the profitability of each customer while increasing overall profitability for your company. Utilizing analytics, you can determine what may be the next best product to offer these different customer segments, and attack them from a sales perspective in this way. Your response rates will be higher using this type of modeling.
Also, look at economic ways to connect with your customers. Using e-marketing, you can send out messages to them relatively inexpensively and almost immediately track your campaign success (which is why we love email — the tracking is so quick, so you can tweak relatively quickly to make your messaging more effective). Along these lines, make sure that it’s easy to contact you with potential service issues. How is your website? Is it easy to do business with? If it isn’t, this is the time to make changes and make it a good experience when your customers visit.
Let us know if these ideas resonate with you — and better yet, if you implement them, let us know of your success. If you’d like some more ideas on targeting prospects, let us know. We didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much information for one question. : )