Companies refine their marketing approach to weather recession

The electronic interconnect industry may have seen the worst of the economic storm. Inventories are being managed better than during the 2002 recession, and embedded electronics and high-end products still make for opportunities in the U.S. market.

To emerge intact, though, electronics companies must take a savvier, more layered approach to marketing. “We’re seeing too many marketing programs on autopilot by focusing on existing initiatives with a reduced budget,” says Bob Klenke, managing director, ITM Marketing. Marketing departments may have to forgo some initiatives in favor of less pricey, more targeted ones.

Reaching Your Target Audience
As markets become tighter and more niche, companies are seeking alternative ways to reach people.

In response, some clients of Martel Marketing Communications, Inc., are hosting a technology tour. Michael Martel, the company’s president, says, “[They’re] taking their message on the road with one-day free seminars in various geographic locations around the country over the course of several months. This is a very cost-effective program.”


Take Advantage of Online Tools

On-demand video is another way to reach those vendors who you might have missed on the trade show circuit.

Typically sponsored by an organization, webinars are increasingly used to conduct live meetings and presentations. For instance, companies can reach engineers at their desk by way of an online Q-and-A with a lineup of experts. In fact, IPC’s Executive Webcast Series aims to provide professional development, industry insights and trends to members looking for information and advice on surviving today’s economy.

Measure the Results
Gone are the days when a strategy’s effectiveness was based on circulation numbers alone. “You have to revisit your results and make sure you have measurables,” Klenke says. “Marketing initiatives should be monitored based on measurable results to hone an effective program.”

These days, it’s more important than ever to quantify the results of marketing programs. Online options such as banner ads and text with hyperlinks enable companies to track monthly clicks.

Rethink Print Media

A back-page magazine ad may not be the most cost-effective way to spend your dollars, but the power of print media shouldn’t be discounted. Instead, rethink your company’s approach to print media.

Klenke promotes brand awareness by penning technical articles for magazines with a decent circulation and an online readership, as well.

“The best way to hone that message is to put the subject in the context of the end user,” he says. In one article he drew attention to a company’s new high-speed technology by addressing brittle fracture failure—a common problem that the reader would be able to appreciate.

For press releases to stand out, they should also reflect the current economic climate. Pitch stories that indicate growth, like a company that is moving to a larger facility or expanding its staff.

Hone Your Message
Make sure you’re appealing to market segments that are still buying. For example, a client of Martel’s began offering a scaled-down, budget-priced basic version of a benchtop soldering machine.

“It appeals to those who need to add additional capacity but don’t have a lot of money for a feature-stuffed machine, and whose only alternative would be to try to make do with the older equipment that they are using,” he says.

To relieve customer jitters, your marketing message should emphasize stability, capability and reliability, Martel says. The message should convey that the company is going to continue to be here for their customers throughout the downturn.

Of course, you can’t market your way out of a recession. “You must constantly improve from the customers’ perspective,” says Terry Heilman, CEO of Sunstone Circuits. “Extreme customer service, 24/7, 365, and excellent quality products on time will boost word-of-mouth advertising, as well.”

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