A few years ago on a trip to the States, I bought an interior design book called ‘Use what you have decorating’. The premise – as is fairly clear from the title – is to focus on improving the way your house looks by re-using and rearranging things you already own, rather than splashing out on lots of new stuff. Of course, we can take on similar lessons in marketing, especially as times get tougher economically.
One of the main ways we can use what we have is to focus on getting the most out of existing customer and enquirer databases. A recent study by Gyro International claims that 83% of marketers see building stronger relationships with their consumers as key to surviving the credit crunch, whilst only 2% are considering cutting their investment in CRM. Existing databases often provide the key to acquiring new customers too – profiling, segmentation and the building of scorecard models can give new insight into where to look for future high value prospects. Interestingly, much of my work is centred in this area at the moment, so this need is certainly resonating in the industry.
Another way to ‘use what you have’ is to make the most of networks and resources. I’m a member of the Marketing Society and a fellow of the IDM. I pay my annual fees, so I owe it to myself to get value from them: attending events, catching up with colleagues, reading the journals and logging on to pick up nuggets of information and news from their websites. (OK, you may have lost your password, but it only takes a few seconds to request a reminder!)
Don’t overlook your own corporate memory either. Take a look back in the files at your organisation’s best case studies and award entries. Dig out results reviews and research reports from the past couple of years and refresh your take on them. Re-reading them in the light of what you know now just might spark some fresh thinking.
And finally, don’t just use what you have, but use what’s freely available – there is a wealth of insight out there on the internet to stimulate new ideas and prompt and prod us into things to test in search of improved results and breakthroughs. It could be anything from news articles to trendspotting to checking what your competitors are up to – it’s all there at our keyboard tip. If you don’t already have it, chances are, someone else does – and they may be willing to share it!
In such a mood the other day, I came across this tongue in cheek guide to how to survive the recession – mainly by carrying on doing what we already do well anyway…