As 2008 turns to 2009, many of us in the marketing world are planning our programs for the next 6-12 months. For young companies operating in an elevated state of uncertainty, it is even harder this year to know where to spend the two most precious resources – time and money. Here are few suggestions to stay focused:
- Fluff is out, value is in (more than ever) – more so than ever, your messages and value proposition have to address a need that has a measurable return, or address a trend that customers still embrace. Some examples of hot trends include leveraging social trends and tools to do more business, security in a corporate world that goes beyond the firewall, and ‘software as a service’ offerings used to lower operational costs for business, etc.
- Conferences and events – it is not clear yet, how well-attended conferences will be during 2009. Be conservative until you are sure it makes sense to invest. Hedge until you absolutely need to commit and get hard data about attendees from the organizers before signing on the dotted line. Also, this is a good year to negotiate terms. Even if organizers won’t budge on price, they will likely offer more services for the same price (i.e. bundling additional sponsorship benefits, or adding in additional events).
- In general, marketing outsourcers will likely be more flexible than last year in terms of services offered, prices, and overall terms of engagement. This is a good time to try and do things that may have been difficult last year. For example do market studies with analyst and industry consultants, and co-market activities like webinars, with bigger partners. I have found analysts to be willing “to be creative” to work with young companies as long as the end product agrees with the analyst’s opinions and they aren’t asked to endorse a company, product, or service.
Most importantly, remember that regardless of the market mood, business still goes on. People and companies will still buy products and services. If yours provides value, 2009 will be a very good year.