Marketing through the mayhem: why companies should increase their marketing when times are tough
October 2022 – Given the current global challenges and uncertainties, it’s natural for people to review and then cut all non-essential spending. When customers buy less, businesses revisit their marketing budgets and it’s often this cost that is seen as expendable.
“Rising costs, war complications, Brexit, the pandemic, natural disasters – the past few years have been difficult on people and businesses around the world. And a result of these tough periods is that marketing goes under the cost-cutting knife,” says Ricardo Pereira CEO at comOn/AMIN Portugal. “We’ve seen this play out during many crises but while marketing budget cuts may help in the short- term, they seldom make sense in the long run.
The impact of pausing your marketing and disappearing from your audience’s view is that your brand loyalty will slowly begin to erode. The question is: how invisible can you really afford to be? If your competitors are spending money on marketing, you’re getting left behind, but if they aren’t, the opportunity is ripe for you to differentiate your brand and dominate your market.
Taking learnings from the past, it’s usually the brands that invest in marketing during challenging economic times that will rebound more quickly when hard times are over. When the market is quiet and less competitive, you need to take your limited marketing budget and maximize its impact. For this you must be strategic and make smarter marketing decisions.
Stay connected with your customers
Most of your marketing decisions begin with your customers. In a crisis, priorities and needs change and this impacts buying habits. Against this backdrop, it’s highly likely that you don’t know your customers as well as you once did, which is why you should gather new data, re-profile your audience and feed this into your adapted marketing plan. In tough periods, customers spend money on brands they trust or where they believe they will get the highest perceived value. Listen to your audience, genuinely address their needs, help them solve their problems and you will cement the relationship.
Re-examine and adjust your messaging
It’s essential for your own livelihood, and that of your people, that you continue marketing your business in a crisis situation. However, it’s worth noting that marketing without empathy is far worse than simply not marketing at all. Companies must adapt to current world events and re-evaluate the content they produce and the outward facing communication they convey. Don’t pursue the hard sell or capitalize on the crisis but acknowledge it and display genuine empathy and support. Your messaging also needs to be relevant and keep pace with the fast-changing environment, so embrace marketing agility and produce content in real time.
Adapt KPIs and marketing goals
During economic instability there’s less money flowing between customers and companies, and from business to business. Look at your current marketing plan and determine what is and isn’t working. Scrap ineffective campaigns, set new relevant targets and then spend more money on content and platforms that are performing well. By adapting your marketing goals and your KPIs to be more in line with current economic challenges, your new marketing strategy is more likely to help your business survive and thrive.
“Crises end, recessions come and go, and hard times do eventually pass,” says Søren Grinsted, owner of Public/AMIN Denmark. “Research has shown us that those brands that continue to communicate and market during tough times are most likely to reap the benefits of this investment when the market bounces back.” “Marketing budgets will be scrutinized and audience behaviors will change, which is why it’s never been more important to make your marketing spend work as hard as possible. Review and reposition your messaging, brand identity and targets to ensure that your marketing delivers as much ROI as possible and your business comes out of the tough time even stronger and more resilient,” says Grinsted.
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The Advertising & Marketing Independent Network (AMIN) Worldwide is an alliance of 50+ independent marketing firms across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Asia. Since 1932, AMIN has been providing award-winning solutions at greater value. The network increases the reach of members and clients through industry expertise, global market insight and knowledge of emerging trends. AMIN member agencies are independently owned, but collaborate to meet challenges, from connecting with new clients and growing into global markets, to building stronger brands and giving access to local insights. For AMIN Worldwide partners and locations: www.aminworldwide.com.
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