Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Request Government Assistance to Get Clients and Fund Marketing Lead Generation

Need some financial assistance in a down economy? There’s help. See below for some governmental organizations that have sponsored the commercialization of our clients.

Canada Economic Development – The CED offers a 12-month support plan amounting up to 50% of admissible export costs. Apply to subsidize the costs of international business promotion with submission of a marketing plan. For more information regarding the CED Strategic Plan, click here

Développement économique, Innovation et Exportation Québec – The MDEIE offers financial aid amounting up to 40% or $100,000 for products comprising innovative technological or scientific elements. The program is intended to offer credibility to new products developed in Quebec through technological certification tests. For information on Project 9 click here, or for more information regarding financial assistance, click here

Emploi Quebec – Emploi Québec offers marketing training and coaching, as well as technical and financial assistance for human resources management issues. For more information click here

Office québécois de la langue française: Receive funding for French informational products such as software and keyboards, or for translation work for web sites, intranets and extranets. Covers up to 50% of costs or $50,000. For more information click here (available only in French)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tips for Marketing Lead Generation in a Down Economy

Here are a few tips for marketing and online lead generation to show how to get clients and save money in a down economy:

Marketing Lead Generation Strategy
• Isolate a target market that is less affected by the economic downturn and single out a segment that needs your product/service.
• Make sure your product/service is attractive compared to the competition.
• Target the competition’s customers. Make sure they know you are still going strong and want their business.

Marketing Materials and Online Lead Generation
• Have a Web site that drives good, focused leads to get clients. Web sites are great for online lead generation and foster communication with customers.
• Have marketing materials that are up-to-date and reflective of your core competence. They should be in line with your product/service positioning.

Advertising to Get Clients
• When the budget comes down to branding vs. marketing lead generation, focus on driving leads. Online lead generation is the way to go for economical, effective marketing lead generation.
• Commit to long-running advertising campaigns to get clients. Then you can lock-in at a very low rate. Also look for value-added opportunities for editorial features and promotions to enhance your standing as a preferred advertiser.
• Use small advertisements, but run them more frequently.
• Check with publishers for any left-over advertising space. Get on their list for last-minute cancellations. Let them know you’re interested, and have some standard advertising material to be used at short notice.

Partnerships and Public Relations
• Seek out economical public relations exercises to keep your product name visible to prospects. Working with partners is a win-win scenario.
• Join forces with another business selling complimentary products and promote one another to clients.
• Consider approaching potential partners that were previously unattainable. They may be more flexible in an economic downturn.
• Don’t limit yourself to your usual suppliers. Shop around for production quotes.
• Maintain marketing communication with clients. Fuel their loyalty by creating flexible and low-cost word-of-mouth opportunities.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How does the Recent Market Slowdown Affect your Marketing Lead Generation?

Marketing lead generation may be the last thing on the minds of business owners during a market slowdown. Often funding for lead generation services is just not there. Along with customer service and quality assurance departments, marketing lead generation can be one of the first things to go. This is a risky move, however. Marketing lead generation is an investment to get clients. Without it, businesses will find themselves declining as the downturn begins to lift. By that time, a company’s lead generation will have fallen dangerously behind the competition, and businesses will struggle to get clients. This means that during an economic slowdown, more competitive marketing-oriented companies can easily steal the business of other companies. Still, it’s a tough dilemma. Decreasing visibility will dramatically reduce sales in the long run. But when a company is looking at cutting an ad or two in a trade publication versus cutting a key player, it’s not surprising that the ads are the first thing to go.

Surprisingly, history shows that maintaining or even increasing a marketing lead generation budget in a down market can be the best investment a company ever makes to get clients. A 1982 study performed by Dr. Valerie Kijewski in the wake of the early 80s recession found that when firms spent aggressively on advertising and marketing during a recessionary period, they outperformed firms that cut spending, and by a margin close to 250%. Similarly, a McGraw-Hill study reviewed the performance of firms in the 1980-1985 periods. It found that firms that cut advertising during the recession increased sales by only 19% in the post-recession period, while firms that upped spending increased sales by 275%. A more recent marketing lead generation study from the University of Texas, surveying the approach of 154 marketing executives, concluded:
Practitioners should take comfort in our finding that under some
well-defined conditions, it pays for firms to proac-tively invest in
marketing activities during a recession.
What are some of these conditions? Well, you need to already have had some marketing efforts in place before the recession hit. You also need to make sure you can afford the extra marketing lead generation to get clients.

All this research is to say that increasing market presence and marketing lead generation during slow periods can really keep you on top when the market picks up. The effect of marketing during a recession can be impressive and can do a lot to get clients. The efforts will compound while other companies are cutting back, ensuring that your company has a real head start in a strengthening economy.

So what exactly should you do to stay ahead when money is tight?

First, spend time evaluating every area of your business, developing new leads to get clients, and building partnerships and customer relationships. All this is a better investment than keeping your money under the mattress when times are tough.

As far as marketing lead generation, you have a lot of options at your disposal, so choose lower-cost and more efficient marketing methods with online lead generation. Virtually every traditional marketing method has a corresponding online lead generation method:

Direct Mail -> Email Campaign
Telemarketing -> Online Advertising
Yellow Page Directories -> Search Engine Optimization
Live Conferences -> Web Seminars and White Papers
Public Relations -> Blogs
Printed Brochures -> Web sites

Online lead generation is faster, cheaper, and more efficient than the old methods, and thus is particularly well-suited to the dilemma of a recession.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Do-Not-Call List and the Changing Face of Marketing

As of September 30, 2008, Canadians can call in to place their names on the national Do-Not-Call List (DNCL). Click here to read the legislative summary. A simple phone call to the toll-free number 1-866-580-3625 or visit to the DNCL website is now enough for consumers to place their numbers on the fast-growing list. Already the phone lines have been inundated with Canadians eager to cut off cold calls.

The DNCL will severely limit the number of available telemarketing leads. The Canadian Marketing Association expects at least 60% of Canadian consumers to register their phone numbers. While telemarketing companies across Canada are facing a huge drop in their target market, Canadians are falling all over themselves to place their names on the list as quickly as possible—so much so, in fact, that on the first day of registration phone lines were overwhelmed with 1562 calls a minute, according to a recent CBC article.

The prognosis for small-scale telemarketers is grim. One needs only look to the backlash of the DNCL in the US, introduced in 2003. As of October 5, 2007, there were 145,498,656 telephone numbers registered in the States. An article appearing in the Canadian business journal Decima Telemanagement quotes Robert Kaiser, president of a US-based Telemarketing firm. “Many telemarketing firms closed in the initial backlash,” he said. "The legislation weeded out the smaller companies that can't afford the back office support and left more experienced companies that can afford the legal and other staff needed to follow the rules." So while large telemarketing companies can probably withstand the transition, those small businesses that rely on cold-calling and telemarketing will be hurt the most. The new regulations require that businesses adhere to the DNCL and update it on a regular basis, or risk fines of up to $15,000. There are a few exceptions to the rule, notably registered charities, political parties, newspapers, market research companies, and companies that have an “existing business relationship” with consumers.

The message is that if you’re still engaged in cold-calling and telemarketing to generate leads, it may be time to think about updating your approach. Marketing is an ever-changing process, and it’s critical to stay ahead of the curve if you want to beat out the competition. The fact is, the new Bill C-37 arose out of a poll with Industry Canada showing that 97% of Canadians react negatively to telemarketing calls. With the overwhelming number of telemarketers vying for their attention, this is hardly a surprise. If people do not want to receive sales calls, it is because they are inundated with them every day. They do not want to hear what your salespeople have to say.

So what are the alternatives?

Marketing in today’s world needs to take a different tactic, and the DNCL marks the decline of cold calling. While businesses are not yet qualified to add their numbers to the registry, it is only a matter of time. Marketing now needs to take into account that your potential clients are increasingly busy and resistant to impingements on their time.

The solution is to build trust with prospects before going for the sale. With the advent of white papers, search engine optimization, media insertion in trade magazines, industry analyst reports, email campaigns, blogs, and webinars, you can provide prospects with valuable information to let them make a responsible decision on their own terms. The advantage is that, with modern marketing lead generation tactics, prospects will be more receptive and informed about your company and your product/service—thus shortening your sales cycle. In addition, you will gain leads from prospects interested in your specific offering, if positioned correctly, and enjoy a higher conversion rate—no cold calling required.

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