Business turnaround leveraging digital marketing
The subject of this case study is a manufacturing business that had experienced year-on-year decline over 4 years.
This was due first to aggressive infiltration of the market by offshore product, followed by a business decision to bypass it’s dealer network to counter the rise in competition. Cost contraction followed, in an effort to preserve profit margins as the market shrank.
At its peak this business was turning over $5m per year.
At the time they responded to Gibsons’ offer of assistance the business was turning over $1.8m/yr; well down from its at-peak turnover of $5m/yr. During the preparation of the reinvigoration project, sales declined further to $1.4m, putting great emphasis on turnaround strategies and growth projections.
Investment in market repositioning, brand and pipeline building was essential to arresting the decline and required a great deal of faith from our client. Rising from a low base in a hostile dealer market situation meant that turnaround would take time and significant investment, well in advance of returns.
This case study clearly illustrates the power of marketing when driven by astute business strategies and supported with a robust, integrated program.
TOTAL INVESTMENT IN TURNAROUND: $200K (Strategic Review and Marketing Campaign preparation costs). Campaign preparation costs included: business strategy, customer research, market repositioning, rebrand, new website, photography, marketing collateral, campaign content, marketing project management and digital strategy. This higher-than-typical cost for a small business was due to the fact that the business had to re-establish a “premium” brand to compete head to head with highly profile brands. Production short-cuts would not be possible. Photography, brand design etc., all had to be highest quality using seasoned professionals. Also, we were working in a combined dealer and end user market, requiring a dual strategy: 1) build “desirability” in the end user market, and 2) build faith with dealers. Primarily, the thrust of this campaign was Digital Marketing, using a combination of Google Ads, sponsored social media, SEO and digital call tracking. In this way were were able to pinpoint target ideal customer audiences.
TIME FROM INITIAL ENGAGEMENT TO SHOW TANGIBLE SALES IMPROVEMENT: 15 months.
DEPENDENCIES: Weekly tactical meetings, monthly strategy meetings, role rationalisation, strong operations support and strong client support were essential. In this instance the client was very supportive. They approved a budget for the work and stood back to allow us to do it. This was absolutely pivotal to achieving the result.
ACHIEVABLE RESULT: If Marketing investment and other initiatives continue and are maintained: sales of $3.6m/yr (from $1.4m) in 3 years while maintaining 15% profit is very achievable.
RECOMMENDED ONGOING MARKETING EXPENDITURE: Ideally, for this type of business, investment of 6% of GOAL revenue as an annual marketing budget is strongly recommended to achieve outstanding results. With a lower investment, slower growth can be expected.