Siraj Bolar, Editor-in-Chief, VisionPlus Magazine shares his insight on methods that can help you grow in a slow market
Gone are the days when creating a marketing plan was like an art where the sole purpose of the marketeer was to put together all the elements and create the masterpiece that would help the business reach out to its prospective consumers.
The traditional marketing approach revolved around setting one plan at the start of the year and chasing it. If and when budgets ran low, the marketing would take a backseat even though the vice versa is not true. Sadly, that is not what will work today. Today, the optical trade is faced with a liquidity crunch due to the overall recessionary scenario.
The growth is slow and so there are many who are preferring to hold back the marketing expenses. But doing so can actually cause more harm to your business. Before we delve deeper, it is important to understand that the trade of optometry is still faring better than various other industries.
After the last few years of experiencing rapid growth, the retail eyewear business does appear to be a little out of focus these days. The recession has in fact crimped sales as consumers postpone purchases of eyeglasses and contact lenses. However, as any seasoned marketing expert would tell you, this is not the time to sit back and relax.
To put it simply, the crux of the matter is that when the pie gets smaller, you simply need to figure out a way to cut yourself a larger slice! In fact, this is an ideal situation when you need to pull up your socks and start marketing with aggression. Future prospects for the industry are extremely bright and optician retailers need to be ready. Instead of holding back, now is the time when you can plan your marketing expenditure wisely.
Work hard, work smart!
Investing in marketing initiatives at a time when the competition is unwilling to do so, is actually an excellent opportunity waiting to be cashed in on.
Yes! You may have to work harder to devise an effective marketing strategy but if you manage to convince a customer during this period, you have actually earned his or her loyalty in the long run. And this will pay off with repeat purchases even later when the market starts picking up.
Simply because the customer demands have not vanished. It is simply the cash crunch that could be holding them back. If your marketing strategy is able to make them see beyond the already known value and benefits of the product, they will be tempted to buy.
Motivate your employees!
The current marketing situation may make it difficult for you to hire new people. But that does not mean you should bring down your sales target. Motivate your employees and work with them to achieve more. Each employee, if motivated enough, will be happy to work more and accordingly deliver more for your business.
Invest in building brand recall
The best way to differentiate your offerings from the competition is to build a better brand recall. When the rest of the market is not too keen to take up such challenges on the front foot, you should work on investing in activities like events, etc. that give you excellent visibility and at the same time help to generate better recall value for your brands.
For instance, the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS is one such opportunity that allows you to connect with your customers in an excellent way.
Opt for cost-effective marketing strategies
Traditional marketing methods continue to hold value even today. But investing in them on a regular basis often proves to be challenging. And yet, there is an emerging need to be visible to the customer more often. So, how do you address this need? The answer to this question is extremely simple.
Invite your customers to check out the latest collections in your store. Use your time well and don’t miss out on opportunities like YouAndEyeOnline.com that can help you build a stronger connect with your customers. The Indian optical trade is still a highly fragmented market where investing the time, effort and money to generate a stronger recall value for your brand can actually pay off really well.
In fact, the current market scenario is like a litmus test for the business owners in the trade of optometry. Those who survive the test of time and use the smart strategies to convert the threat into an opportunity will actually end up adding more growth to their overall sales figures unlike those who continue to take the backseat.