In tough economic times, the marketing budget is always one of the first to be cut. However, companies that promote strategically in an adverse environment can grow business performance. USB flash drives are among the tools that you can use to achieve great results.
Research undertaken by the Institute for the Study of Business Markets indicates that proactive marketing during an economic downturn improves both market and business performance.
Whether you are constantly working on a shoestring or want to get a step up on the competition in slower business conditions, here are some tips on how to stretch your marketing bucks.
Consistency is Key
Remain true to your brand values and be reliable with your messages. Your clients need to be reassured and will be confused if you suddenly change your value proposition. If your messages need to be adjusted, keep the frequency, tone and formality (or informality) of your communications consistent.
If you are streamlining your product portfolio or service offering, take the time to explain your reasoning to existing clients. Now is not the time to be insensitive or miserly – it will backfire on your brand in the long run. In tough economic times, it is vital to reinforce the emotional connection with your brand and show empathy.
A branded or fully customised flash drive enables complete alignment with your corporate identity and communicates your message using a desirable item that prompts action. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute showed that recipients of USB drives were 43% more likely to do business with an advertiser from whom they had not previously purchased. That same study revealed that 55% of USB flash drive recipients had a favourable view of the advertiser after receiving the item.
Get Value for Money
Allocate your limited budget to campaigns or activities that are value-driven and offer multiple benefits, both for you and for your customers. Find ways to market for little or reduced cost, such as social media, digital advertising and content marketing.
A branded memory stick covers three bases with one item, offering you and your customer exceptional value. With pre-loaded content, it serves as a gift, a marketing tool and a communication medium. The same item, with different content, can be used for numerous applications, further enhancing value through bulk purchasing. In addition, the cost per impression of USB flash drives has been shown to be less than that of mass media, but without being invasive or disruptive.
Use the opportunity to build trust and increase credibility with clients and prospects. Emotional trust is the personal connection that your client or prospect has to your brand. Being available, reliable and communicative are some of the top ways to build this kind of trust. Prove your trustworthiness by adding testimonials to your website and marketing material. On the other hand, technical trust is established when your systems work like they’re supposed to. Your website has no 404 error pages, your email doesn’t bounce back as “mailbox full”, your forms work correctly, your phone line doesn’t disconnect midway through a conversation. This goes a long way to reassuring clients and prospective customers that yours is a professional organisation and you will be around for years to come.
This philosophy applies equally to USB flash drives. While the least expensive option may seem be tempting, the offer that provides quality and value-added service should be the most attractive. Furthermore, cheap units that stop working after a few uses (or don’t work at all) will do far more long-term damage to your brand than any initial saving.
Build Brand Relationships
Focus on measurable, relationship-based strategies, including direct communication with customers, offline and online.
Numerous studies conducted in the UK, USA and Australia have shown that USB flash drives are consistently among the top ten most popular promotional items to give and receive. Respondents to a several British Promotional Merchandise Association surveys cited flash drives as being among the top three items they like to receive. Recipients use them more and keep them for longer than most other branded items, making memory sticks the ideal communication tool for all points in the marketing funnel, from awareness to action. Giving a client, prospect, vendor or staff member a product that they actually appreciate will go a long way to entrenching a strong brand relationship.
USB-based products also provide online solutions with measurability. For example, by directing recipients to a dedicated landing page, mini-site or email address. Digital USB books, which are electronic versions of your documents, can be implemented online, as well as on your drives. These offer campaign trackability, including integration with your existing web analytics, as well as social media sharing.
The presence of good branding and additional elements like attractive packaging and pre-loaded content can help you to connect with your audience and receive optimal return on investment.
*Originally written in 2009, updated Sept 2020.