Friday, September 02, 2011

Smart Marketers Find Opportunities in Slow-Growth/No-Growth Economy

Thought leadership, content marketing leads the way when already long sales cycle gets even longer. QR codes can help, but no one size fits all solution.

Today’s ho-hum Labor Department report for August show the U.S. economy neither added nor lost jobs during the month, the worst performance since last September. Cuts in the public sector entirely offset the private sector's gain of 17,000 jobs. Figures from earlier months were also cut, due largely to steeper cuts by government. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent. The economy does have some bright spots: Weekly filings for jobless claims remain relatively steady rather than signaling a pickup in layoffs. Sure, spending activity has slowed, but consumers boosted their spending ahead of the August maelstrom of events. And businesses, while nervous, haven't panicked in a way that would create a self-reinforcing downward spiral.

Government stats show the private sector actually added an average of 83,000 jobs over the past three months. That ain’t going to turn the economy around but, economists say the pace suggests continued slow growth ahead.

Home prices and consumer spending show signs of life

The S&P/Case Schiller Home Price Index
increased 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter and consumer spending in July rose 0.8 percent-- its fastest rate in five months. Economists pointed to strong demand for motor vehicles which shows confidence to make significant, fairly long term purchases. OUR TAKE: If nothing else that should ease some concerns that we’re sliding into another recession. You don’t need to be a PhD economist to know we’re simply stuck in a slow-growth, frustrating, wait-and-see, spin your wheels, don’t-take-on-any-big risks economy. It doesn’t mean folks (and companies) aren’t spending. It DOES mean the sales cycle and purchase consideration cycle is longer. That’s where thought leadership and content marketing comes in as we’ve pointed out in earlier posts.

New data on content marketing/thought leadership

More than 90 percent of marketers believe content marketing is effective at helping them achieve their search engine optimization (SEO) goals according to a new benchmarking study from research firm Marketing Sherpa and Internet Marketing Report maintains that “content marketing is quickly becoming the most effective way to ramp up business on the web,” especially with regard to SEO, Email and social media. The Marketing Sherpa report says content marketing is most effective when in Educates, Builds Trust and Speaks to Success. Help prospects solve problems

If nothing else, your prospects are looking for information that will solve their problems, boost their business and make their lives better. Sherpa researchers report that the 5 most effective forms of content marketing are the tried and true ones:
· White papers
· Newsletters
· Survey data
· Blogs
· FAQs

QR Codes Best in Magazines, Newspapers & Packaging
Young males affluent most likely to jump on QR bandwagon

A new comScore study on mobile QR (Quick Response) code scanning readable by smartphones, found that 14 million mobile users in the U.S., representing 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR code on their mobile device. Who’s scanning the most on their mobile devices? Researchers, no surprise, said it’s the young, male, affluent audience: male (60.5% of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4%) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1%).

More than half of all QR code scanners were between the ages of 18-34. Those between the age of 25-34 were twice as likely as the average mobile user to engage in this behavior, while 18-24 year olds were 36% more likely than average to scan. More than 1 of every 3 QR code scanners had a household income of at least $100,000, representing both the largest and most over-represented income segment among the scanning audience.Among mobile users who scanned a QR code on their mobile devices in June, 58 percent did so from their home, while 39.4 percent did so from a retail store and 24.5 percent did so from a grocery store.

The most popular source of a scanned QR code was a printed magazine or newspaper, with nearly half scanning QR codes from this source. Product packaging was the source of QR code scanning for 35.3 percent of the audience, while 27.4 percent scanned a code from a website on a PC and 23.5 percent scanned codes from a poster/flyer/kiosk.

So as we slog through this slow-growth economy, keep experimenting with new ways to drive your message home, but remember patience, and disciplined persistence will keep you top of mind with prospects—and content marketing that educates, builds trust and speaks to success will get you in the door.

Happy Labor Day.


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