Successful Brand And Company Marketing
Has Never Changed
Despite today's unprecedented economic, social and political uncertainty, the landscape for increasing sales and brand reputation really hasn't changed. And, while budgets have been cut to the bone, and technological advances have provided extraordinary benefits, it still comes down to the people who do the work.
The need to hire smart, dedicated people, who speak with candor, will never change. Who you hire continues to represent a dramatic area of opportunity to grow your company's business.
But Where's The Talent?
Marketing departments, after years of staff reductions, are beginning to hire again, with 52 percent of companies, based on a CPRi recent survey, planning to add staff in 2005. With ever increasing emphasis on ROI, the areas of project management, market research, data management and brand management, in particular, are expected to increase by fifteen percent or more.
On the other hand, corporate plans for new hires in the areas of advertising, event planning, direct marketing and public relations are relatively flat. Moreover, employment in the marketing communications industry has dropped to 422,000 people, representing the lowest level of employment since Fall, 1996. So who's going to be handling the marketing communications functions for your company, internally or externally? Hopefully, senior experienced professionals who know their craft and also know how to increase profitable sales. The question becomes, where to find them.
First, take a look away from the traditional agencies and focus on the steady hands of the established marketing communications consultancies. They usually don't have the regional or global branch office overhead to finance (which you probably aren't using anyway) and, consequently, haven't had to reduce staff in the past few years. And they know how to develop and execute client communications plans that don't always center around expensive television commercials.
Quite the contrary. What they do have are talented experienced professionals who would actually work on your business. And, because they've been around for awhile, they've worked on a variety of assignments and they know how to get things done "the first time". Their experience means their start up time is shorter, saving you both time and money. They want to work with you as a partner, not just another "cash cow".
And Where's The Opportunity?
There are many opportunities once the right marketing professionals are committed to you, but let's focus on one that is often overlooked - corporate and brand anniversary marketing.
Think for awhile about your customers. In the business-to-business world, selling to corporate buyers, your customer is often very new to your company, and knows very little about your reputation. Since they invariably focus on price and delivery time, you are forced to spend a lot of time and effort to avoid becoming a commodity.
In the consumer world, there are similar pitfalls, unless you understand the levels of importance your buyers place on quality, service, relationship and status. And, in this rapidly changing media environment, it is often difficult to determine how to reach your prospects efficiently and impactfully.
If you're fortunate enough to have an upcoming corporate or brand anniversary, seize the opportunity. And, remember, as most companies have learned, the milestone doesn't have to be just in multiples of 25 years.
Marketed properly, a company or brand anniversary can provide you with at least a yearlong opportunity to separate yourself from your competition. They can't match your unique milestone.
Importantly, "your past is the strongest criterion people have to judge your future performance." Use this opportunity to establish or re-establish your vision, launch new products, energize existing products and services, improve customer relationships, and impact the press or local community, while driving sales for today and tomorrow.
Further, your anniversary provides an ideal opportunity to draw your employees closer and turn them into true brand advocates. How important is that? In a recent Gallup study, 65 percent of Americans said they hadn't received any praise or recognition in the workplace in the past year. And the number one reason people leave organizations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that they don't feel appreciated.
Using the right marketing communication consultancy, supplementing your own staff, can give you a head start on turning your anniversary into a powerful marketing opportunity. Don't miss it for, as many things change, having the right people will always be needed to drive profitable sales and improve your reputation.
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Gary Kullberg is the CEO of the Kullberg Consulting Group (KCG), a strategic alliance of 59 marketing communications companies, with combined experience working with 585 companies in 21 industry groups.
KCG celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2004 and launched its new service, Marketing Milestone, that year to help companies and brands celebrate anniversaries.
Gary can be reached at 401.886.5001 or Gary@KullbergConsultingGroup.com.