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It’s time to review your pre/post-economic downturn data

Now that we’re well into the Holiday season, you may be experiencing your annual “holiday lull.”  If you haven’t yet done so, this is a perfect time to review the past few years’ records to compare your pre- and post-economic downturn business data . . . incorporating what you learn into your 2012 business/marketing plan(s) will help make your efforts more efficient and effective.

(Don’t have time to perform the analysis yourself?  Contact your local college or university and see if there is an upper-level marketing or business major or graduate statistics, business, marketing, or market research student that can help you with the analysis and the follow-up action plan.)

Some things to review:

1) The composition of your customer base:  Do your new customers “look like” your pre-downturn customers?  Don’t know what your customers look like, check out one of the profile services available (such as Experian’s) you can obtain profiles for both pre/post-downturn customer lists (hint:  if you’re unsure about what you need, call the provider and talk to the rep.).  Knowing who your customers are and what they look like, or if your customer base is changing, enables you to better target potential customers and craft effective, relevant messaging to improve the efficiency and overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

2) Your and your competitor’s marketing channel mix:  Are your customers coming from the same acquisition channels as before the downturn?  Have your competitors introduced a new-or revised an existing-loyalty program?  Has participation in your loyalty program dropped off?  Are your referral sources changing or dropping off?  Are your competitors using different channels than they used to?  Or have they changed their “mix” (e.g. reduced traditional print media and beefed up their social media presence)?  Are they trying new things (such as MyRadio.com, etc.)?  Should you be?

3) Your sales:  Has the amount of your average sale changed?  Are your customers buying the same total amount, but over a longer time period?  Do you need to introduce additional payment options?  Are there common pairings in your offerings that you can bundle?

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