RR: We didn’t reduce our marketing budget, but we are taking a much closer look at how we spend our money. For example, we’re always solicited for donations and in the past, we were almost reflexive in donating money. Now we focus on the ones that are more strategic for us, rather than just opening the checkbook. You can dole it out when times are good, but we have to be more selective now.
I believe a down economy is the best time to focus on strategic planning…to look ahead and make strategic marketing decisions that will benefit the company overall. It helps that we came into this well equipped and well armed to deal with the downturn, so we’re not trying to play catch up.
We also invested in new enterprise business software that handles our accounting, contact management, project management and so on. It puts everything in one place. It’s groundbreaking. We believe it will make us more efficient in finding information about everything. It also has a client management database and everything is actively tracked as part of the business development effort. We meet monthly and everyone has activities that they are responsible for performing and reporting on every month. It is a culture shift for the firm.
The other thing we’re doing is become more focused on our brand. It’s much more defined now. We’ve taken healthcare and broken it into different practice groups — children’s, women’s, general/acute care and so on. For each one, there’s a consistent message we want to put out and that’s part of what this effort is trying to accomplish.