Marketing Forecasts for 2009—Part 1
By Craig Huey, president of
Creative Direct Marketing Group
2009 is all about shaking up the marketing industry
as you know it. The recession will have far-reaching
effects, but that’s not the only challenge that lies
ahead. Here are the first six forecasts to help you
prepare for the rest of the year.
Forecast #1: Businesses that continue to market
during the recession will become very profitable and
successful by 2010.
During the recession, some marketers will make a
fatal or crippling decision to cut prospecting.
And the last five recessions point to one
Those companies that continue to market will be more
profitable and dominant in their categories in the
next 12 to 18 months.
A McGraw Hill research study of recessionary
marketing, which examined 600 companies over 5
years, revealed those that maintained or increased
their advertising during a recession posted an
average sales growth of 256%.
In the last recession, only 25% of companies
increased their marketing. As a result, their
average market share growth outpaced other
businesses by 2.5 times.
• Use the best direct marketing possible.
Know your cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale for
every promotion. Know the lifetime value (LTV)
of your customers. Without this data, you’re
throwing your money away.
• Increase your database marketing for upselling,
cross-selling and loyalty efforts. But never
stop prospecting…otherwise it will set you back
several years in lost opportunities.
Forecast #2: The recession will force smart
marketers to upgrade their marketing with powerful
direct response copy.
Direct response copy makes the difference between
reaching your target and missing your mark.
Focus your messages with a clear Unique Selling
Proposition (USP) and benefit-based “you”-oriented
copy. Tell your prospects how you’re going to make
their lives better. Overcome their skepticism with
“preemptive” direct response copy that anticipates
If you do this effectively, your sales will rise
even in an economic downturn. But you’ll lose sales
if you use copy from a traditional advertising
agency, or editorial copy.
• Review your current online and print
materials. Make sure you’re using solid direct
response copy, not anti-marketing copy written
by editors, or an image ad agency.
Forecast #3: The Golden Age for paid search is
over forever—and competition will heat up.
To beat the paid search competition this year, it’s
important to use unique landing pages with distinct
URLs for your paid searches. Your ad message must
match your landing page header and body copy.
Also, manage your keyword program as a direct
marketer using direct response techniques and
principles. Ignoring proven techniques will lose you
• Put yourself in your prospects’ mindset
when choosing keywords. Every month, 368,000
people search using “low price”…but over 20
million use “discount” and more than 100 million
use “sale.” Check your terms on the Google
Adwords keyword finder.
• Aggressively test and retest your paid search
ads to make them more responsive. You must
determine what’s driving response and what’s
dragging it down.
Forecast #4: Retail advertisers will launch
aggressive direct marketing campaigns to augment
slowing in-store sales.
Now that all the Christmas promotions are over—and
2008’s seasonal sales did not match those of
2007—more retailers will turn to direct response.
The retailers that flourish will be those that do
• Gather information on what their customers
• Create loyalty/rewards programs for their best
• Bring back past customers
• Communicate effectively and regularly by using
direct response copy and art in mail and email
Borders uses direct response email marketing to
drive online sales and store traffic among its core
customers. Staples reports great success in reaching
small business prospects with direct response email
and Web campaigns.
• Experiment with different formats as part
of a multichannel approach, from coupon
postcards that push prospects to the web, to
catalogs and magalogs. Watch your response
Forecast #5: Major paradigm shift: The
informational marketing model will generate maximum
The average person sees an unbelievable 1,600 to
3,000 ads every single day. If that doesn’t seem
possible to you, don’t forget to count how many
email solicitations you (and your spam filter)
The fact is, 2008 was a record spam year, and email
response rates declined as a result. With this
growing volume, people have become trained to filter
out unwanted messages.
Integrating valuable information into your marketing
materials is one surefire way to help your message
get through—online and off. Why? Because consumers
are looking for credibility, not sales hype.
When they receive information they want and need,
they will keep reading…and they’ll view you as a
• Make sure your prospect learns something in
each mail and email communication you send. That
creates value…and it earns you the right to send
another message. For example, a nutritional
supplement company could include articles with
• You can also boost email delivery by
instructing recipients to add your “from”
address to their safe senders list.
Forecast #6: The “classic” Internet homepage
is officially obsolete.
Studies show homepages are stagnant billboards that
depress response. In 2009, your business should be
using micro-sites and landing pages, which are sites
that generate leads or sales for one product.
These pages have powerful sales copy that motivates
your prospect to act—and they don’t have navigation
In other words, homepages are anti-marketing;
landing pages are direct marketing.
• If your company sells many products, give
each its own site with tailored direct response
copy that maximizes your SEO or paid search
success. Make sure each one has its own URL.
Also, your microsite should have limited (or
zero) navigation options. It should use only direct
response copy and graphics to guide the prospect
These are the first six
marketing forecasts for what’s on the horizon for
2009. Check back next month for the remaining six!
---Source: Craig Huey is the
Creative Direct Marketing Group (CDMG), a direct
response agency. Reach him at