In sports and in business, well-planned and executed strategies and tactics are necessary to win the day. Some sports or business plays or strategies come from the Offensive side. Those strategies are proactive—-the opening salvo, aggressive and attacking, putting out a direct challenge to the competition.
Introducing a new product and all the activities related to the launch are an example of Offensive Marketing. One might also think of push marketing tactics, e.g., email marketing that announces a new product or service.
Your company is in expansion mode, perhaps entering a new market or geography and battling for the attention and support of new customers.
In contrast, Defensive Marketing strategies and tactics, on the playing field or in the board room, are designed and utilized to protect your turf. Tactics and strategies are reactive. When responding to an attack, whether it’s the other team positioning itself to chip away at your lead or a competitor cutting into your market share, assume a Defensive stance and take steps to protect what has been achieved. Position your entity to maintain or reestablish dominance.
When a Defensive Marketing strategy is required, the company objective is to retain clients and market share, to refine product positioning messages, strengthen customer relationships, or enact other reparative therapy. Crisis communications, i.e., the response to a public set-back or scandal, is a classic Defensive Marketing move.
Depending on what a business needs to achieve, marketing strategies that work from an Offensive or Defensive stance can be employed separately or simultaneously. In the coronavirus business climate, that our politicians seem inclined to prolong, Defensive Marketing rules the day.
Everyone is hunkered down, if not outright shut down. Nevertheless, those businesses allowed to operate are doing just that, even if employees are working from home. The companies have budgets. Some are hiring Freelancers.
Just because many companies have curbed their spending doesn’t mean that they don’t have a modest budget available for certain types of high-value projects, as owners and leaders define it.
Put on your thinking cap—-What might motivate your clients to spend money these days? Chances are they’re working hard to protect what they’ve built up over the months that preceded the shutdown. It’s likely that your clients are shoring up systems and resources and reaffirming relationships with their customers. Your clients are probably positioning their organization for long-term success.
The question is, how can we Freelancers package, describe and promote our organization to effectively communicate to current and prospective clients that we can assist their Defensive Marketing campaigns?
To predict how your services might fit into the picture, take time to think objectively about the client’s business and what could be considered logical long-term objectives that could reap benefits over the next 5 or so years.
Nurturing and promoting their most important, biggest selling products or services is a safe bet, as is protecting and/ or upgrading business continuity processes and also insurance, disaster recovery systems in nearly every stripe, from hardware and software to the physical plant. However, some organizations might go on the Offensive and begin making some surprisingly aggressive moves as they pursue customer acquisition.
Keep in mind that scaling back on what is considered spending on nonessentials should not be mistaken for the cessation of spending. The organizations could be merely reflecting the economic or political climate and allowing their expenditures to reflect the new normal.
Good customer knowledge and relationships, along with agility and adaptability, will support proprietors of Freelance consultancies as we respond to yet another set of difficult business conditions. Our clients are either thinking of what must be done today to get their business back in motion, or looking at how the distant future might look and how they can engineer safe passage. Defensive Marketing strategies will predominate.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Kim Clark. The Boston Common tennis court.