HOW TO MINIMISE THE IMPACT OF UNCERTAIN TIMES ON YOUR BUSINESS - PART 2
Understandably there is a lot of doom, gloom and panic in the news at the moment. In uncertain times such as these, businesses are often tempted to cut back on expenses including marketing. However, if we want to have any hope of surviving - and maybe even thriving - past coronavirus uncertainty, history has told us that it is time now, more than ever, to invest in yourself.
Marketing should be targeted and efficient, employing the clearest and most persuasive communication possible. However, an uncertain economy can sometimes make such ideals difficult. The trick is not to stop marketing efforts altogether but to employ them in the most cost-efficient and impactful way possible.
GET THE MOST OUT OF EVERY MARKETING EFFORT
Make sure to employ every possible avenue of every marketing effort. A case study, for example, can be used on your website to attract online customers, but it can also be inserted into direct mail brochures, trade show handouts (which can then be used to start conversations with the goal of procuring leads), and as a leave-behind for sales calls.
USE THE RIGHT MEDIA
It is imperative to target the right media for your customer base. It’s easy to get lost with all the various media sources available today. Yet, the truth is you can’t focus on them all. It is better to concentrate on one or two, whether its direct mail or online marketing and do them well. Find out which platform is most target-rich for what your company offers, and focus on that.
If you are going to invest in social media, make sure you pick the platform which is going to give you the most return on investment. First identify which platform your target market is most likely to use - younger generations are more likely to engage with platforms such as Instagram, whereas older generations are more likely to be active on Facebook. Second, you must decide which type of content performs the best on this platform which you are willing and able to create. Video content tends to perform well on social media, however, creating video content uses more time and resources than media such as images. The magic is in perfecting the balancing act.
TRIM THE FAT
In times of economic uncertainty, it is best to simply cut out all weak and non-profitable areas of marketing, and concentrate on improving your strengths. This is part of the general process of streamlining your activities. Why bother investing time, money, and effort in cold calling if isn’t a profitable avenue of marketing, for instance? Better to focus on areas that have proven benefits, and increase your activities in these areas.
Each business will benefit from different forms of marketing communications. It is important to conduct market research in order to find out what is working best for you.
If you use digital marketing, this can be done for free through the use of tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook insights and Google Ads. If you want to understand which traditional campaigns are having the greatest impact on your customers you may want to conduct surveys or questionnaires to ask them directly. Taking a small sample of one on one interviews with customers can be an effective way to get to the meat of how and why your brand resonates with them.
PROFILE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS
You should always know exactly whom you’re marketing to. It pays to analyse your customer base and see if you can identify any common threads, qualities, preferences, or beliefs within them. You can then directly appeal to these. Do they have common problems or concerns that you can address? In any case, your best customers are loyal customers. Unlike more fleeting consumers, they will likely stick with you due to their faith in your brand. Consequently, it pays to further foster your relationship with them.
Economic uncertainties, when looked at in a positive light, can be viewed as opportunities. This will ensure that you are making the biggest splash in the market place with minimum expenditure. With focused marketing communications, a little goes a long way.
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About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here