Dead Men Walking: What Gets Cut from the Marketing Buys for 2009

The year 2009 is going to be painful for a lot of businesses, but it should also be really interesting to see what marketing departments do to adjust. Next year will be the year you earn the big bucks.

Here are the givens:

  1. Sales cycles will increase
  2. Your buyers’ budgets will be cut drastically
  3. A lot of your current contacts will be fired or will move
  4. You won’t have the money you did this year to get what you want to get done
  5. You want have the same amount of people you did this year in your organization either.

So what do you do? The flight to quality has begun and a couple “old school” marketing techniques may be finally put to rest in 2009.  Here they are:

  1. Direct mail: Admit it, do you really still do direct mail?  The direct mail business is a relic of the past, and 2009 may be its end.  My buddy does marketing for an online dating site and it works for him, but I can’t find any b2b buyers who can quantify or justify their direct mail spend. It’s finally time to make choices. That choice should be to move online.
  2. Trade shows: Speaking of moving online, say good-bye to the trade show. People are not going to attend shows unless they are local. The cost of travel is unjustifiable when you can educate people online.  Old-school trade shows at the Mandalay = dead.  Online events such as virtual trade shows, webinars/webcasts, and moderator-led chat sessions will prevail.  Come on, it makes sense.  There’s little you can’t do on the Web. And that’s where your prospects are. Now I’ve stood by tradeshows over the past couple years because frankly they are great places to meet customers and partners, but not because they are quantifiable lead-generation vehicles.  I’m sorry to lose the networking opportunity, but organizations will adjust with webconferencing and potentially telepresence. I just sat through a presentation at MarketingSherpa’s B-to-B Demand Generation Summit event and exhibitors are saying they are starting to see a 20 percent cancellation rate, up from single digits.
  3. Print ad spends: Need I say more?  The size of tech rags has gradually shrunk and nuclear ’09 may finish them off.
  4. Radio and TV ads: Leave those to the B2C guys.

The theme is the same, I believe that we will see a move online.  Yes, the online movement began years ago, but direct mail and trade shows refused to die.  Now, thanks to today’s unique economic environment, say goodbye to your old friends as they enter the history books.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • Lee

    We’ve always predicted the end of trade shows but I will argue they are here to stay. Education is only one piece of trade shows. Networking being the other. Technology will never supplement the human touch and the ability to meet someone face-to-face. That said, yes, t&e will be cut drastically and attendance at trade shows will reflect that budgetary change.

  • The current economic situation is going to force businesses to abandon some of those “old school” ways of doing business and finally move into the 21st century.

    Businesses must start exploring the online strategies they once put on the back burner if they want to succeed in the changing market. I’m looking forward to watching how it all unfolds …

  • Unfortunately, Direct Mail is not dead, nor will it be this year. Now if you can the mail box to go away, now we’re talking but until then direct mail will always be with us. Hate to say it but a client recently got a 4% conversion off of a direct mail campaign (despite my efforts to squash the effort)