Monday, February 02, 2009

Planning to Beat the 2009 Forecast

· Markets are flat or declining- to grow you need to win share from competitors.
· Understand where your business capabilities are superior to competition and make the most of them. Challenge your business but don’t go off piste if you’ve never tried it before.
· Consumers won’t just buy on price. They will scrutinise each purchase more minutely and choose the best value based on a rational, cost/benefit decision. Still too many senior managers seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
· Don’t behave like a retailer and just drop prices. It’s frightening to see how retailers react to the downturn. They just cut prices and then expect suppliers to pick up the tab. It’s as if they are playing golf with one (borrowed) club- it may be a driver, but it doesn’t get you a winning score if you use it all the time and just keep trying to hit it harder. (Believe me, I know….)
· Stick with your brand equity and play to your strengths. There’s no need to change the vision and long term direction of the business. I may be wrong, but I think Tesco are severely wounding their own brand by calling themselves “Britain’s Biggest Discounter”. It pays their discounter competitors a great compliment to see great swathes of red and yellow signage and stacks of tertiary brands at suspiciously low prices. Not the behaviour of a brand leader. Complete this well known phrase or saying: Cheap and ………
· Change the commercial agenda. Once a branded or own label supplier gets to the “pay up or else” stage in a retailer relationship, it’s a lost cause. Business growth comes from investment in NPD, advertising, and product performance- these are the topics that should dominate the conversations between retailer and supplier, not just haggling over a donation to the retailers’ shareholders.
· Protect the budgets and make them work harder. The IPA Bellweather report for Q3 2008 reported the steepest fall in budgets for 9 years. Many companies will pass the hat round internally for contributions to the bottom line. Few will resolve to maintain investment in advertising and NPD. It will be those few that win in the longer term, by cutting waste elsewhere and making the marketing pound work harder. The Marketing Services industry is hugely competitive and there are new capable agencies with low overheads and a practical, results focused ethos out there that can deliver a higher return on investment than some of the bigger players. Try for example…


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