Company A ignores the hype around social media and carefully mixes a cocktail of old media and buyers' increasing pre-buy reliance on Internet research. Visits to their web site jump sixty percent overnight and almost immediately the manufacturing company's revenue increases twenty percent during the darkest days of the downturn.
Easy to say but hard to do. How do you survive, particularly during a prolonged depression? The answer is, you continue at least some level of transactions with your current customers while also widening your customer base.
Make no mistake about it. This is a depression, as defined by our leading economists. High unemployment. Restricted credit to small and medium-sized businesses that otherwise normally provide workforce expansion. Severely reduced output that matches significantly reduced trade and commerce. And price deflation.
"This means it is essential to engage paying customers at reduced cost of sale, and engage more of these customers," Arrington observes. "You want to manage your business like a surgeon, not a lumberjack. Get the cost out of your raw materials and inventory, streamline your workflow, and do whatever it takes to keep your people busy on paid work.
"Your sales force cannot dial for enough dollars to solve your cost challenges and sustain your profits to the satisfaction of your investors and capital markets," Arrington says. "You already know this from experience."
What it really means is that your new and old customers have to be enticed to call you.
"Fortunately, just as we have hugely improved control technologies on the line, we also have improved technologies to engage the customer who is about to buy," Arrington explains.
"Today, up to 80% of purchase decisions are already being made before a customer reveals his or her interest to the supplier. You never see the customer who calls someone else. So you have to turn the tables. You have to deploy your marketing communications so that it is your competitor who never sees the customers you're winning," Arrington explains.
Since the Lone Ranger debuted on radio in 1933 and on television in 1949, Americans have loved the idea of a silver bullet.
Today's silver bullet would seem to be social media, judging by the hype that surrounds a shift of marketing dollars to the Internet. But social media is a catch phrase that makes all new media sound productive when only some of it has proven effective for business and much of it has not.
"It is not helpful in this tough business climate to brand all of the diverse activities that are being lumped into social media as the new critical path to business survival," Arrington says.
"We have data that correlates a sixty percent increase in visitors to our clients' web sites with a twenty percent increase in revenue," Arrington continues. "These are customers that were never on the sale force call lists. We have found this to be an initiative we can create and control and make work.
"The bulk of those activities euphemistically described as social media have nothing to do with it," Arrington concludes.
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