Many business decision-makers erroneously pull back their marketing in a down economy because they are not marketing for the right reasons. Marketing is a long-term activity, not a sales tactic.
The outcome of marketing done well is attracting and keeping the "right" clients, those for whom your company delivers the most value at a fair price. It's an activity that should be happening all the time, not in fits and starts.
But when revenue is down, it makes sense to stretch dollars and find the most cost-effective ways to have perceptions in the marketplace keep pace with the realities of business.
Making adjustments at the tactical, not the strategic, level is the hallmark of a wise marketing professional.
This is one reason the popularity of e-mail marketing has grown. Boosted by the events of Sept. 11 and the anthrax scare, e-mail marketing has begun to play a lead role in the marketing mix.
It is cost-effective, direct and quick to deploy. Recipients can delete it if they're not interested, minimizing the nuisance factor. And more important, they can easily pass it on to many others if it's interesting or useful.
While the messages you send are important, it is much more important to gather information about who is reading, who is responding and what they are telling you.
Tracking, gathering intelligent feedback and fostering perceptions in the minds of your prospects and customers is the real currency of e-mail marketing and, in fact, of marketing altogether.
Developing an e-strategy component to your marketing plan is common sense. I believe it was Voltaire who said there's nothing common about common sense. Andrea Fitting is CEO of Fitting Creative, a Pittsburgh-based agency specializing in strategic marketing and breakthrough creative. Reach her at (412) 434-6934.