Wednesday, October 22, 2008 D-Tools October 2008 Newsletter   VOLUME 8 ISSUE 9  
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CONTENTS
Title Blocks 101: How to Display Existing Document Information
Pricing for Proposals
Marketing in Tough Times
Visimation Joins D-Tools Certified Partner Program
Global Settings for Reports
Only 3 Weeks Until DTU
Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) News for October
Marketing in Tough Times
by Leslie Stevens

As you well know, now is the time to re-organize many aspects of your business, from operations to overhead to sales and marketing.  Our industry is exceptionally unique in providing integrators with endless resources to learn from.  These sources range from trade articles, educational classes, manufacturer webinars, industry newsletters and websites and trade consultants. 
 
Your endless stream of valuable information, many times offered for free, could possibly be worth more than an advanced business degree.  As a company owner, currently thriving in business or struggling to make ends meet, you can learn from these generous service providers by simply taking time to consider how new ideas can be incorporated into your business.
 
Today’s educational topic is Marketing Your Business in Tough Times
 
Marketing Your Business in Tough Times

 
Many of you are now scrambling to generate new business and get jobs on the books.  Most certainly, marketing your company is on the forefront of your mind.  Ironically enough, now that you need to spend money promoting your business, you have fewer dollars to work with.   But by doing nothing to conserve money, you will only worsen the situation.  You need to be of the belief that you’re in business for the long haul, so you need to work towards the future. 
 
The following three tips will guide you through a process to navigate this tough time.
 
  1. Determine which target market(s) are REALLY worth pursuing
  2. Identify how you want to COMMUNICATE with your target market(s)
  3. Establish who will IMPLEMENT your communication plan
 
Determine which target market(s) are REALLY worth pursuing
 
You have a lot of places to go for new business, including referrals, repeat business, architects, interior designers and builders.  Today, many of you are also turning to the commercial market as a source of income.  But as you know, even when your business was doing well, you still had limited resources to continuously contact all these potential customers.
 
Over the past few years, you’ve most likely built some traction somewhere.  Now is the time to invest, or re-invest in developing that clientele.  This would almost certainly include repeat business and referrals.  If you worked with tract builders, you should focus on getting their homebuyers to purchase upgrades, because supposedly these homeowners already know something about your services, and / or the options available for their home….assuming you properly co-marketed with the builder like you should have done all along.
 
Identify how you want to COMMUNICATE with your target market(s)
 
No matter who your target market is, assemble a few ideas that describe how you want to communicate with your customer.   This includes a process for repeat communication.  Determine what you are going to do this month, next month and the months ahead. 
 
Some marketing mechanisms only need to be created once, but yet will last a long time.  Better yet, these tools are cost effective over the long haul.  Some of these marketing mediums include vehicle wraps, which will last for years and can been seen 24/7.  The same goes for websites, If you have a storefront, consider wrapping the entire window.  But before you do, check your local city rules and get any permits if needed.
 
Next you will need to determine how you want to reach to your customers.  For example, you might ant to conduct a direct mail campaign, send electronic newsletters, or conduct special events in your showroom.  Whatever your strategy, draft an outreach plan, which should include at least the following elements:
 
ü       The type of marketing material you want to develop
ü       When you plan to develop your marketing tools or activities
ü       At what point you plan to use your marketing tools or conduct activities
ü       How you plan to use your marketing tools or carry out the event
ü       Create a budget.  Be aware of your short-term and long-term expenses.
 
 
Establish who will IMPLEMENT your communication plan
 
Now the real work comes into play here.  Think of a marketing campaign as a gym membership.  Just because you have access to the equipment doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the desired results. You will need to make continuous effort over the long haul, which obviously takes considerable takes time and energy.
 
Determine who will be responsible for initiating your marketing campaign and overseeing it. Don’t become shortsighted once you land a couple new jobs, as you’re out of the woods yet.  The economy is a slow moving ship.  Provide ownership to that individual responsible for ensuring the success of a long-term campaign.
 
In summary, pick a few potential target markets that are most likely to buy from you, or partner with you in the case of architects and interior designers.  Develop a thorough plan, both immediate and long-term.  Calculate budgets.  Create your marketing tools and determine who will implement the campaign.  Exercise regularly.
 
About Eclipse Marketing and Leslie Stevens

Eclipse Marketing provides professionally designed and cost-effective marketing tools to electronics integrators.  The company also provides Member Marketing tools to CEDIA, PARA, TechHome and NASBA.  Leslie Stevens, President of Eclipse Marketing and author of this article, can be reached at leslie@eclipsemarketing,net or by calling 949.363.5340.  You may also visit Eclipse Marketing at www.eclipsemarketing.net to view affordable marketing tools available.
 

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