Quite frankly, we are in a period of uncertainty. With a nasty virus threatening to cause everything to stop in its tracks and the dreaded B-word still hanging in the air, some businesses are starting to brace for drastic changes. Financial experts are warning of a global recession, with harsh cuts already being made in certain industries.
However, it's no good to panic. As the saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In particular, your reaction to your approach to marketing is crucial - it can make or break your company during an economic crisis. Here are some of Storm12's tips to help you out if you don't know where to start.
Recognise your clients' spending habits
Everyone's spending habits are going to change (even yours). Forget how you previously defined your target audience. You've now got to recognise the big spenders versus those who are clutching their purse strings. Harvard Business Review perfectly divided a client's typical spending habits into four main subgroups - Slam-on-the-Brakes, Pained-but-Patient, Comfortably Well-Off and Live-for-Today. Is what you're selling expendable? Make it an absolute necessity to your clients, and tailor specifically to each group's economic behaviour.
Gear your marketing towards existing customers
You've got to make sure you retain the clients you already have - you don't want to lose them. There might be no value in appealing to new customers in a time of uncertainty, since a lot of trust will go into making financial decisions. Instead, rely on the loyalty of your existing customers - be the safe, comfortable choice in an economic downturn. Bend over backwards, reward and reiterate the great benefits you provide.
Be in it for the long run
Unfortunately there is no quick fix for marketing in a time of uncertainty such as this. Short-term thinking may boost your return on marketing investment, but not your overall profit growth. In this respect, marketing needs to be treated a little differently than your other departments. Adjust your marketing strategies early in order to secure your company and brand presence. It also helps to intertwine your sales and marketing by creating a single revenue pipeline - just make sure that communication is solid.
Timing is everything
You may not think it, but a recession (if that's where we're heading) could actually be excellent timing for marketing. In an economic downturn, your competitors may scale back (or cut completely) their marketing, in order to save on budget. So while they're reducing, you'll stand out and will appear to be the only available option to your customers. Plus, a recession presents the perfect opportunity to get a little creative. Everybody knows that creativity in your marketing can boost your revenue, more so than any other strategy.
Don't recklessly cut your marketing budgets
It will probably be tempting as a short-term solution in a recession, but think more carefully about what you are cutting. Be more strategic - ultimately, it will be your marketing and advertising that brings in the business. Marketing (of course) also helps with maintaining your brand recognition - your branding will significantly suffer in the long run if you arbitrarily cut your spending. You don't want to be lost and forgotten about, do you?
It can seem a scary time for a business. But, like I said previously, if you're prepared, then you've got (hopefully) less to worry about. And if there is a recession, it's always useful to remember that old phrase used for WWII propaganda (and was relentlessly plastered and parodied everywhere for virtually everything in the early 2010s) - keep calm and carry on.
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