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Don't cut - invest in digital

Don’t let the forthcoming round of government spending cuts tempt you into instigating some cuts of your own. Deborah Rowe says that at times like this we need to be investing in what we have, not cutting back.

The government spending review and the associated cuts will have a less than beneficial effect on the construction industry. We know that. Sadly, in less forward-thinking companies, the effects may well trickle down to the marketing department. This is not good for business growth. Just because the government is cutting budgets left, right and centre, and throwing out countless babies with the bathwater, there is no need for our industry to follow suit.

We have said it many times before - and clearly we have to keep saying it: now is not the time to be shedding sales and marketing expertise and cutting budgets. In fact, if anything, now is the time to be investing in the people that you have. Those are the people that will take the business forward in the upturn. Yes, there will be one - eventually. Just look at this week’s news - it’s littered with stories of ‘profits up’, business expansion and construction redundancy rates being down. It’s slow but it is coming. However, when it does you will want to be sure that the best in class are still working for you and not your competitors.

So, when was the last time you looked at the skills in your business? Where are the gaps? There must be gaps. What are you doing to fill them? Getting rid of long-standing experienced members in favour of cheaper inexperience is not the way to do it. Now is the time to upskill your existing team and invest in some training that will help strengthen their foundations.

In marketing, as much as anywhere, things are moving on apace. Digital technologies, social media, new hardware and software, all make it easier to build relationships and create useful dialogue with new and existing clients. Got the new iPad yet? It’s perfect for presentations. How about the new iPhone? Your business could have an app for that. (note: other netbooks, e-books, e-tablets and smartphones are available, etc etc….)

It’s all much more immediate and ‘in your face’. As marketers, we can’t afford to lose sight of the changes and what they will mean for our business. We need to be up to speed to ensure we can make the most of the new opportunities that are out there. If we don’t, our competitors most certainly will and they will be streets ahead of us before you can say ‘what’s a webinar?’.

So do your team members know their Digg from their Twitter? Are they making the most of their blogging? As someone who is just exploring the value of Twitter to the business-to-business specialist, I would say that every marketer should have an understanding of the world of digital marketing and the value it can bring to business. Don’t be fooled into thinking that such things are just for the ‘glamorous world’ of the consumer marketer. Anything they can do we can definitely do better.

A good start would be to sign up for the CIMCIG one-day conference, 25 November 2010, on the strategies and tactics of digital communications. Invest one day to find out more about the multidimensional and varied world of digital marketing and how you can make it work for your business.

Deborah Rowe, principal consultant of Sheba Marketing, is a member of the organising committee for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group.