Are You Swimming in the Right Pond?
Consumer sentiment* fell by 4.6% in September, leaving it at 5.8% below the pre-Budget level and only 1.1% above the post-Budget print. While this is worrying enough, of most concern to economists and businesses alike is the five-year economic outlook, which is at it’s lowest in 16 years.
So, with consumer confidence at all-time lows, less than 10 weeks until Christmas and the slowest business period of the year looming, now is the time to evaluate your strategic marketing channels to ensure your business is swimming in the right pond.
We often hear people talking about ‘swimming in the right pond’, but what is a pond?
9 Strategic Managing Director, Linda Ginger defines a pond as: “a channel that provides you with access to potential clients, delivers revenue, and/or provides strategic business advantage.”
Channels cover all sorts of methods of accessing potential clients: they may be partners, such as industry associations, institutions or complementary businesses that refer you clients; trade or industry magazines that regularly publish your content; or digital channels, such as blogging, emails and social media that allow you to communicate with your target market. The secret is that not all channels work equally for all businesses.
So are you swimming in the right pond?
Strategy and measurement are the cornerstones of continued business success. Measuring your channels allows you to do two things effectively: determine what works for your business and continue doing it; and resolve what doesn’t work for your business and stop pursuing it.
It is easy to fluke success for a few years – particularly when economic signals are strong – but operating without a strategic plan and measurements when the market changes precipitates failure.
Measuring your channels is easy. Do they provide you access to your target market? Do they deliver revenue or strategic business advantage? 9 Strategic recommends setting targets that are linked to your business objectives for each of your channels. Be sure to record and act on your results.
It’s not just about you
Measuring your channel partners doesn’t stop at what they deliver you. A true channel partnership is just that – a partnership involving a two-way conversation and mutual reward. These days businesses don’t just have to be customer-centric, they also have to inspire loyalty in their channel partners. Is your relationship replaceable? Do you provide your channel partners with value? Ensure you have a formal plan for communicating with your channel partners and a strategy for listening to, and acting on, feedback.
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*Westpac Melbourne Institute’s Index of Consumer Sentiment