Spend smarter: How to market in the recession

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Lately all we see in the headlines is recession, cutbacks and reduced consumer spending. As marketers, we know the drill — we've lived it before. We know that we are forced to do more with less — it's not a time for spending more, it's a time to spend smarter. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on delivering results that are both measurable and profitable.
Smart marketers recognize that recessionary periods are a good time to improve customer engagement. Tactics that focus on increasing customer loyalty and value will help create brand champions for your business.
Some of the simplest activities don't take long to implement and require a small investment that will yield quick returns. Start with re-engaging lost customers by creating a high-value, tailored offer that reminds them of your value proposition. It's cost-effective and something you can do in a matter of weeks by combining Web analytics and e-mail marketing.
Then, adjust your marketing mix to best suit how your customers research, browse and shop. Look at customer preferences for receiving information and analyze which marketing channels influence, motivate and drive the conversion. Making adjustments to your mix to reflect what your customer wants will really help you optimize the marketing strategy and engage your customers for the long term.
Take advantage of the power of social media. Mobilizing influencers and allies to promote your company and brand through social media channels such as blogs, social networking sites, message boards and ratings and reviews programs are great ways to stay top of mind, encourage customer endorsements and be a part of more conversations.
Too many marketers overlook the power of really listening to their customers. Make it easy for them to tell you what they want through things like surveys and preference centers. This is an easy and effective tactic that is often overlooked. Asking and then giving your customers what they want goes a long way in building loyalty and increasing the lifetime value of your customer.
Finally, take a step back to re-evaluate your relationship with customers. How do you interact with them? What will help you communicate more effectively? Making even the smallest adjustment will increase retention, which will help you now and when things eventually turn around.

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