The Impact of Financial Crisis on Marketing Practices and Budgets in Central and Eastern Europe

The most common challenge faced by marketers in a recession is budget constraints. According to a study made this summer in CEE region by Linea Directa Communications, a direct marketing and call centre company, companies with small marketing budgets dominate in terms of study participants, budgets undering 250.000 EUR being reported especially in Hungary (89,4%), Russia (88,6%) and Romania (85,4%).

The biggest budgets, above 1.000.000EUR are meet in small percentages in Czech (5,4%), Slovakia (4,9%), Poland (4,5%) and Slovenia (4,3%).

Marketing budgets suffered in 2009 a lot of modifications

In 2009 the biggest cuts in marketing budgets are made in Russia (28,6%) and Romania (22,7%), companies reducing budgets up to 30%. Similar budgets as in 2008 are in big percentages in Hungary (44,4%), Slovenia (43,9%) and Poland (43,4%).

On the other hand, there are also companies investing in marketing communications, countries such as Russia (19,6%), Poland (19,2%) or Slovenia (16,2%).

This money are spent in 30-70% mainly in internet promotion (using banners, blogs, social networks, etc.), catalogues, mass marketing (TV, newspapers, radio) and events&fairs organization. The smallest budgets (representing max 30% from marketing budgets) are allocated for sending SMS& Mobile Marketing, telemarketing, direct mailing and emailing.

As communication channels, the most used are internet (using banners, blogs, social networks, etc.), e-mailing, catalogs distribution, fair&events organization. In the end we have SMS and mobile marketing, drop mail and PR, considered to be less important channels.

“This shows that companies are orientated to the marketing activities that can be measured in order to become more effectiveness, but not to much. There are still less popular channels such as telemarketing and mobile marketing that are not to much used. The advantages offered by these channels consist not only in direct interaction with customers, but also in using a wide range of services. Therefore telemarketing is a great tool not only in sales increasing, but also for testing new offers, market research to measure customers satisfaction. Telemarketing can be used also to generate sales prospects, to establish business meetings or to respond to clients that required by phone specific informations about a particular product or service”, said Dejan Grbic, Head of Business Development at Linea Directa Communications.

According to the study, companies organize marketing campaign in order to increase the number of clients, to improve customer retantion and loyalty and maximize the existing customers through additional sales. Also companies take in consideration to develop databases used later in their communication campaign, to create a better awarness and repositioning for brand/ products.

For direct marketing companies, like also Linea Directa Communications, 2009 has meant the continuation of collaborations started in previous years, but also new projects developed with big companies but also with medium ones.

“We noticed this year even a greater interest for our services, this meaning for us both locally and internationally development, offering in the same time an increasing number of jobs on the romanin labor market”, added Dejan Grbic.

In CEE region many are speaking now about outsourcing as a cost saving measure for the companies.

o In Czech is the biggest percentage of companies outsourcing direct marketing activities (74,4%), followed by Poland (61,5%) and Romania (36,5).

o On the over hand, 84,8% of companies are not outsourcing in Hungary, 74,6% in Slovakia, 68,6% in Slovenia and 46,7% in Russia. These companies are not outsourcing direct marketing activities because they have internally resources to do these operations or can not afford it because they have low communication budgets or they don’t have enough informations about the process of outsourcing, what is about and what kind of benefits brings.

The most outsourced direct marketing activities are the newest channels of communication such as Internet promotion (banners, Google adwords, bloging, social networking), fairs& events preparation and mass marketing (TV, billboard, newspapers), addressable direct mail and catalogue distribution. Les outsourced are telemarketing, emailing, drop mail and SMS or Mobile marketing.

The study was conducted in 7 countries: Czech, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Slovakia. Overall, participated managers from different industries ctive in IT, finance, FMCG, Pharma, auto, retail, telecommunications, tourism and utilities.

Linea Directa Communications is part of the Studio Moderna Group, one of the biggest and fastest developing direct marketing and call center companies. The group coverage 19 markets in CEE providing services in 22 international languages. The main activities are databases management, loyalty and lead generation programs, telesales, Info-Line and Help Desk services, SMS campaigns, market researchs, Lettershop and Pick & Pack and payment processing.

Email Marketing Vs Direct Marketing: Which Is Best?

Hmm… this question is important, but it looks like another one: radio or TV advertising, which is best?

The question would be: how to make email work?; and, how to make direct marketing effective? Smart business would divide their budget and use both approaches to target their audience and grow their customers’ database.

What about you? Do not think you should at least try both methods and come up with your own conclusion instead of merely reading one or more articles and reaching a conclusion they have formed maybe through other readings instead of personal, extensive testing and statistics?

Do not you think that marketing is all about tracking, testing and measuring your advertising in order to be able to turn a profit?

Way too many businesses are running their venture blindfolded, advertising here and there, not knowing with 100% accuracy where their customers are coming from, so they could advertise more often in that particular area, or using that specific channel. What a waste of time, money and effort!

With email marketing and direct marketing, you want to be sensitive, and granular. Get into the nitty-gritty, strategic marketing. It is not time for playing aside particularly in today’s Economy when crisis is driving us nuts and people are not tracking their business activities like this is normal.

You are not running a common business, your clients are not common (but special), and your marketing should not be common (but remarkable).

Direct marketing has been used for hundred of years by mail order catalog companies to sell their magazine subscriptions, products and services. It is an old approach, yet, email marketers are still overlooking it, and running their business like email is something new.

It is a new platform, but it is based on the same old direct marketing principles. Brands and companies who are trying to reinvent email and not take into account direct marketing fundamentals are shooting in dark.

Because direct marketing is here to stay for as long as people will buy from other people and companies that they like, know and trust. And the top three main principles one should integrate in their business are:

1. Never email to people you do not know, or do you do not have permission to email. Thus, your email list should be double-optin and CAN-SPAM compliant.

2. Always track your email campaign in terms of open rates, clickthroughs, and sales conversions. Use autoresponders like AWeber and GetResponse and analytics for your site/page.

3. Never mix mailing lists, but segment your email marketing. One list should be made up of prospects. Another list of first-time customers. Another one of hot buyers, consisting of people who bought from you at least twice. And cross-promote to each other, advancing prospects to customers, and customers to hot buyers, and hot buyers into raving fans.

Stay at Home Moms – Make Money With Postcard Marketing

With the surge of everyone wanting to start a home based business, stay at home moms now have the opportunity to make some serious money working form home. Being a stay at home mom I know that time can be a restraint, so you will need to start a simple, profitable business that doesn’t require a lot of your time. There is no easier way to make money from home than with postcard marketing.

The reason I recommend stay at home moms start a postcard marketing business from home is because it only requires an hour or two of work each day to be successful. This hour or two of work per day consists of placing address labels and stamps to the back of your postcards so that they can be mailed out to a list of targeted prospects.

The key for success with postcard marketing is to find a hot product with a large and hungry buying crowd. Once you have the product and buyers, you should focus on finding a reputable list broker. A list broker will assist you in finding the right mailing list of potential buyers for the product or service you are marketing and trying to sell. Your mailing list is vital to your success and if you screw this part of the plan up, your success will be limited.

Once you’ve chosen your product and found a good list broker, you now need to design a high converting postcard. Your postcards should be written in a way that gets people to take action. You can have people call a hotline phone number or you can have them go directly to your website where you’re selling your product. Either option will work, but your postcard must get them to take action.

As a stay at home mom if you can put all of the elements listed in this article together you can build yourself a very profitable home business utilizing direct mail techniques for postcard marketing.