When business leaders cut costs deeply and quickly in response to the economic crisis, corporate communications budgets were brutalized.
What compounds the misery for communications executives is that, although their companies may be experiencing a bounce after bottoming out, there is no sign they will get those public relations budgets restored soon.
But this is still an opportunity to help your leadership team as they get the company back on track and demonstrate the importance of communications in achieving business objectives.
Here are several examples of what you can do, even with limited means, to support efforts to increase sales. And right now, that is the highest priority for everyone.
Promotions. One temptation in a downturn is to produce more news releases to get the company name out there in a positive way, particularly when the news otherwise is not so good. But these don’t help much, as media won’t use many such releases. We suggest that you create promotions for your most important audiences – specific types of businesses or consumers with which there are latent sales opportunities, or communities where you have operations and associates whom you want to keep engaged and productive.
Webinars. Even if the sales declines have stopped, you need to find more ways to grow sales again. What is most important to your success in doing so is the simple fact that your customers do, too. You may not be able to attend trade shows, so bring the customer to you. Schedule webinars for individual customers with the most opportunity for you to grow sales, so that your business, design, engineering, marketing and other teams can outline specific suggestions. Or set up a series of all-inclusive webinars for all customers on a wide range of topics of the most importance to them. Invite the editor of the most important trade publication serving that customer industry to speak at these webinars along with you about the latest trends, and use that as a springboard to discuss your innovations in support of customers.
Blogs. One of the quickest ways for a business-to-business company to grow sales is to improve your success rate in getting design engineers to specify the use of your components or materials in the manufacture of their own products. Work with your sales and marketing teams to establish a regular series of blogs written by your own design and innovation teams. Customers have their own problems. They need answers on how they too can grow sales and cut costs. Arrange a series of blogs to outline the biggest problems facing customers, and then highlight how your innovations solve these problems. Then use the blogs to link to the professional and trade media that directly reach your most important sales targets.
Got budget? Probably not. But there are creative and cheap ways to keep using communications ideas to support your business team in getting and growing sales.
If you’d like to continue this conversation, please contact Gary Wells at 216-241-4631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.