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.

Direct Mail for Cruise Ship Lines

Cruise Ship Lines must fill up their ships and they often do discounting in order to fill every room on large cruises. It makes sense for both travel agents and cruise lines to find inexpensive ways to advertise and market their discount and luxury cruises in order to insure that they achieve 100 occupancy for the cruise; easier said than done.

However, cruise lines know that if they get a couple on a cruise and they enjoy themselves then they are more apt to sign up for a bigger cruise in the future. Therefore they know they must get them on that first cruise and that means they must advertise.

One of the best ways for cruise ship lines to market is to co-sponsor and co-pay with their certified travel agents using direct mail marketing in the direct mail marketing coupon packages. These direct-mail marketing packages should be sent to all households within a 15-mile radius of the travel agent. The cruise ship line should take up half the costs for the mailings.

Direct mail marketing works and the return on investment is quite high. Cruise ship lines and travel agencies should send out direct-mail marketing packages every three months, especially to those ZIP codes containing high net worth individuals. Perhaps you will consider this in 2006.

2 Marketing Tips That Can Help You To Make Money Sooner

Do you know what the benefits of being in a small business are? Well I guess you already know the “pluses” of having your own business: You can wake up when you want; you don’t have to kiss up a boss; you set your own hours; and you have no limit on your income potential. All of these reasons make starting a business a smart thing to do.

But if you have already started your business but aren’t seeing the sales that you had hoped for, then more than likely your marketing strategies are what’s to blame. Ask yourself, “Am I operating in a niche?”; “Is your products priced accordingly?”; “Do you have a system to follow up on your customers and clients?” All of these are questions that you need to answer before you run your next advertising campaign.

Luckily, I will help you to shortcut your learning curve so that you can earn more money as quickly as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the marketing strategies that you can put to use in your business to help you profit sooner rather than later. Here’s the first marketing technique that we will go over:

1) Direct mail

Even if you don’t plan to use direct mail to seek out new customers, you should still be using it to follow up on your current customers. You see 80% of the profits that you make will due to sales on the backend. All this means is that you’re selling to people (your customer list) who likes you and wants to do business with you again. So be sure to attend to their every want and need, so that you can form a bond or relationship with theses customers.

And your customers won’t forget you if you contact them every month. Some will buy, and some will not. But the few that does buy dramatically makes up for those that doesn’t buy. Hopefully the products that you’re selling in your business are at a relatively high price, so that you can earn a profit on every sale that you make. But breaking even is OK also. Let’s take a look at another strategy that you should be using:

2) Display ads

To stay in business, you have to have a steady stream of new prospects and leads coming in on a daily basis. One of the best ways to do this is with advertising. Pick out a good section in the newspaper where you think your targeted audience will be, and run an ad that’s clearly visible to them.

So when running your ad, should you sell your product via the ad, or should you do something else? Well, you should do something else. The bottom line is that there isn’t enough room in a display to sell your product or service, so you will want to get their contact information so that you can follow up on these people over and over again.

The more you follow up on your leads, the higher your conversion rates will be, and the more your sales will increase. Keep these tips in mind when marketing your products and services.

Good luck with using these 2 strategies to make more money in your business.