Home About Evolve work Results In the Know Press Contact Us
 
  Newsletter Archives
     
  In the Know Be in the Know, Sign Up Today.
     
 
Recession-Proof Your Marketing

Smart Companies Grow Through Focus

Remember, it’s Easier to Stand Out in a Less Crowded Field
In today’s uncertain business climate, many firms may be tempted to slash their marketing budgets to help ease the pain of a slowing economy. But that would be a mistake.

“Since marketing dollars don’t tend to be committed far in advance, they can look fairly easy to cut when times get tight,” concedes Kim Guarino, president of EVOLVE. “But this is often exactly when your marketing efforts can have the greatest impact in terms of driving more sales.

"In fact, companies that maintain a strategic focus on marketing often find they’re able to leap ahead of weaker competitors during a downturn, precisely because they’ve continued to invest. In a less crowded field, it's easier to stand out.”

Consider a “Focus to Win” Strategy
EVOLVE often recommends that clients take a focused approach to business growth, and this is particularly true in a downturn. “In our experience,” observes Guarino, “a lot of small and mid-sized firms try to cast too wide a net – promoting their products or services to anyone who might conceivably choose to buy. But it can be a waste of time and money to go after a wider base of prospects than you need. Our clients often find they get the best results when they spend 80% of their marketing efforts going after just their very best prospects.”

Clients are also encouraged to pursue business in no more than three industry verticals at a time. While large, deep-pocketed multi-nationals may well be able to pursue 10 to 15 industries at a time, smaller companies that try to build a presence in too many markets at once risk generating only limited, scattershot results.

| top |

Finding Gold Among Your Prospects

In order to identify your top-tier “VIP” or “Gold” prospects, take a close look at your prospect database. Which of these companies would you be most thrilled to receive a referral into? Which of them would you most prefer to do business with – perhaps because they’d be the most profitable, the most enjoyable to work with, or the easiest to serve? From this analysis, create a set of attributes that best describes the prospects you’d most like to pursue and win as clients.

Now, plan on spending the vast majority of your marketing dollars and effort this year going after these Gold prospects. Of course, if “Silver” or “Bronze” level prospects walk in the door, you can absolutely still choose to work with them. But the lions’ share of your outbound marketing and business development efforts should be devoted to winning top-tier customers.

Companies that tailor their marketing approach to a more targeted audience often find they’re able to make better use of, and generate greater results from, their marketing resources. For example, a few years ago, EVOLVE worked with a company providing nonprofit production services. This firm had a steady base of repeat customers, was doing well overall but their top competitor was still four times their size.

Instead of challenging its Goliath-like competitor in a head-to-head battle, we focused on increasing awareness with just 150 of their very best, most desirable prospects. Since they were targeting a smaller audience, they could afford to send a series of direct mail pieces that were more expensive, memorable, and impactful. At the same time, they only needed to close two of these "VIP prospects" to achieve their annual sales goals.

How to Get Started
Thinking of pursuing a more focused marketing approach for your firm, but wondering how to get started? EVOLVE suggests mapping out your pipeline targets, using a simple set of steps outlined in Figure 1 below.

What if you’re not sure about some of these numbers? Not to worry, counsels Kim Guarino. “We recommend to our clients that they sit down for an hour and come up with their best guesstimate of what they think these numbers should be. That gets them started. Then, three months down the road, they can always revisit their estimates and adjust the numbers if need be.”

Chart and Stay Your Course
During this tight economy, companies need to make the smartest possible use of their marketing investments.

That means developing a plan, and committing the necessary resources (both in terms of time and dollars) to implement the plan. Then, you have to stick with it – remembering that it can take 2-24 months for full payoff on specific initiatives. We recommend you track results by tactic, so you can determine what’s working best, and then fine-tune accordingly – emphasizing the activities delivering the greatest return on investment.

| TOP |

Stuck or Want Help Refining Your Plan?
EVOLVE works with growth companies to develop and refine their marketing plans. Whether you just want a fresh, third-party perspective on your current plan, want to flush out individual plans for your business development team or soup-to-nuts planning, it's easy to get started. Contact us today for a complimentary marketing consultation.

| TOP |

 

 

 

 

   
 

“We know it’s essential to maintain, or even increase, our marketing during a downturn. The sales are still out there… marketing helps brings them in the door. We see it as an opportunity to leap ahead of the competition.”

—PRAMOD RAHEJA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTELLIGENT OFFICE-NOVA

UPCOMING EVENTS

4.02.15 Mission Possible: Hit Your Brand Out of the Park
Nonprofit Capacity Conference
Thought leadership is one of the most effective and least expensive ways for nonprofits to build awareness for your mission, support for your programs and drive more revenue – a critical success factor too few nonprofits have really mastered. In this actionable session, learn how to stand out from the more than 1 million nonprofit brands and elevate your nonprofit as a thought leader. Discover how to get started and kick your plan into high gear.

10.30.14 Nonprofit Executive Roundtable: Elevate Your Nonprofit's Thought Leadership
Access National Bank & GWSCPA

Competition for attention has never been higher. Funders are more selective than ever. Driving revenue increasingly depends on your nonprofit’s ability to stand out as a thought leader. Hear best practices from communications expert Kim Guarino and executive director Michael Butera will help lead a peer discussion on how to make the leap to thought leadership and drive better results! Peer event for senior nonprofit leaders.


PAST EVENTS

4.21.14 View from the Top: Build Influence Through Thought Leadership
Nonprofit Capacity Conference

Achieving and maintaining an effective thought leadership program is one of the most powerful and best practices in driving sustainable revenue for your nonprofit. With a relatively small investment, the pay off can be big. Done well, thought leadership cannot only elevate your visibility; it can increase donations. But without a strategy and a clear understanding of what thought leadership is and, more importantly, what it isn’t, nonprofits could be leaving money on the table.

6.25.13-7.23.13  Viral Marketing: Creating Buzz on a Shoestring Budget
Georgetown University
Join marketers & entrepreneurs in this 5-week course where we'll discuss viral, buzz and guerrilla marketing, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) & other strategies to generate awareness & buzz for your company or nonprofit.

7.19.13 The 30-Minute Growth Plan: Rev Up Your Revenue & Accelerate Growth
NoVa Women's Network

Join us for this luncheon for women business owners where we’ll walk through 6 steps to a 30-minute growth plan. Attendees will leave with a step-by-step worksheet and assessment to pinpoint focus areas to reach your goals. Bring your favorite women business owners and join us to learn how to rev up your revenue and accelerate growth this year and beyond!

2.15.13 Five Reasons You Should Be Using Twitter
NoVa Women's Network

Join women leaders for this timely discussion about the top five reasons why you should be on Twitter. Learn how it can help you be more accessible to customers, discover what potential customers want and build thought leadership for your brand. Hear some success stories on how small businesses are using Twitter effectively and get your questions answered.

1.16.13  Creating Your 2013 Marketing & PR Calendar
NAWBO DC

Join us for a few hours and leave with an action plan to step up your marketing and PR for an entire year! Our expert panelists will share tips and best practices from their decades of success in marketing, social media, PR and strategic communications that you can incorporate in your business. Attendees will receive worksheets and helpful handouts to guide you in customizing your own 2013 Marketing & PR Calendar!

11.14.12-12.19.12  Marketing for StartupsGeorgetown University
Join entrepreneurs & startups in this 5-week course where we'll walk step-by-step through how to develop an effective marketing plan & discuss tactics for building visibility & credibility on a startup budget. Leave with a vetted marketing plan for your business!

10.25.12  Nonprofit Financial Outlook for 2013 Roundtable Brittenford & Veris Consulting
Join senior nonprofit leaders for this timely peer-to-peer roundtable and hear results from a recent survey of the financial outlook for 2013. Theresa Schieber, COO, The Whelan Group, will lead a discussion on the key findings from this survey and the strategies nonprofit executives are using now to improve financial performance and fundraising success. 

9.29.12  Sisterhood of Success: Women's Leadership WorkshopThe Hot Mommas® Project, Georgetown University
3rd annual women's leadership seminar from The Hot Mommas® Project helps you master your goals & build a support network. New this year, successful women leaders panel & hands-on guerilla mentoring to reach higher results this year and next.

11.18.11   The 30-Minute Marketing Plan: 6 Steps to Accelerating Results
Northern Virginia Women's Business Conference
Rev up your marketing results in 2012! This actionable session will walk through 6 steps to developing a 30-minute marketing plan for your business. Join us for this hands-on session including step-by-step worksheet, handout on 7 mistakes leaders make that derail marketing and assessment tool for 2012.

10.15.11  Sisterhood of Success: Women's Leadership Workshop
The Hot Mommas® Project, George Washington University
Do your goals seem just out of reach? Join the Sisterhood of Success and reach higher this year and next. New women's leadership seminar from The Hot Mommas® Project increases confidence by up to 200%. Register by 9/30 with Evolve partner code: hmpdc2 to recieve 30% savings.

6.30.11  Get Smart About Social Media: 7 Mistakes to Avoid with Social Media
Intelligent Office, Alexandria
Join small business owners for an informative discussion on how to get smarter about using social media to drive visibility for your business, ways to get the most out of your social media initiatives and pointers for avoiding these common mistakes small businesses make.

1.25.11  CEO Roundtable: Six Secrets to Strategic Revenue Growth
Intelligent Office, Alexandria
Join your peers for a CEO discussion on strategic revenue growth. We'll discuss effective top down strategies that are working in today's economy to rev up your sales & marketing engines.