In times of uncertainty, there is often a desire to press pause on all marketing. If a marketer is unsure on what to do or say, they may decide to say nothing at all. But we think this is the wrong approach. In fact, saying nothing can have a more negative impact on your audience than taking the time to say the right thing.
As the economic climate shifts around us, so should our marketing. To stay in one place while a series of unexpected global changes have transformed what customers want, need, and can afford, could be a huge mistake.
It’s no surprise to find out that around three out of four (77%) adults have reported feeling very or somewhat worried about the cost of living crisis, and that nearly 7 out of 10 (68%) adults are spending less on non-essentials (according to Census). And this is something that few businesses can afford to ignore.
With spiralling energy prices, inflation higher than it has been in four decades, and a recession expected in 2023, businesses need to understand that customer confidence is down. Now is the time to shift your marketing and brand focus to align with what your customers truly need.
Understanding the public mood
Has your ‘ideal customer’ changed? Probably not. But their needs and wants might have shifted.
To truly understand the public mood is crucial with any marketing campaign. If you know who you’re speaking to and how you’re reaching them, the rest is easy. But if you haven’t re-assessed your audience in a while, it’s time to connect with them now. Understand their new needs and consider how your products can fit those to the best of their ability.
This can be done through some good old-fashioned research. Send out some surveys, ask for feedback, find out where your customers are on their journey.
Responding with empathy
Occasionally, businesses have mixed up empathy with condescension. This is a huge mistake. If your customer feels they are being talked down to by a brand they’re otherwise willing to buy from, their decision may change rapidly.
Empathy is the way forward. In a crisis, businesses can demonstrate their values to their customers by being there for them and proving this through their marketing. However, empathy should not be used as a comms tool. Instead, businesses should be approaching customers as people first, and find ways to meet their needs.
Of course, not all businesses can adapt to meet customer needs. Afterall, these economic changes are also hitting businesses worldwide. However, if you can, do.
We only need to look at other brands who have gone out of their way to meet the changing needs in a crisis, to see that it does work. For example, during the 2008 financial crisis, Hyundai boosted sales by launching a program that took back licensed cars from customers who lost their jobs.
Asda is an example of a company doing this now – their Just Essentials budget range was relaunched specifically to help their customers. And the marketing alongside this has been brilliantly received.
Could you do the same? If launching new products or services would be too far of a stretch, there are other ways to better meet customer needs. Such as:
- Discount codes when signing up to your newsletter
- Discount codes on certain dates or events
- Sales on essential items
- Buy one, get one free / buy one, get one half-price
- Pay later schemes
- Finance options
Not only will these help your customers in a time of need, but they will do so without causing too much of a dent in your business. Whereas, doing nothing at all could leave a mark.
Shifting to brand awareness
If a customer cannot commit to your products or services during the current economy, that doesn’t mean they’re a completely lost customer. The economy changes, and your customers need to feel assured that they know where to go when they’re ready.
This customer loyalty and trust will be key in the long-run.
Maximise free/low cost marketing channels
As previously mentioned, consumers aren’t the only people affected by the current economic climate. In fact, government figures found that in August 2022 alone, nearly 2,000 registered small businesses went bust in England and Wales. Sadly, this is an increase of 43% when compared to August 2021.
With this in mind, many businesses are needing to maximise free and low-cost marketing channels, to help save money without putting marketing on the backburner. Keeping your marketing budget low and efforts high may seem an impossible task, but it certainly isn’t.
Here are just a few solutions we recommend:
- Transpond: an email marketing platform
- Capsule: CRM platform
- guroo: marketing for non-marketers
- Hubspot: CRM platform
There are plenty of free marketing tools available too, which will help to streamline your efforts. For example, platform scheduling (which is now also available on LinkedIn), and Facebook Business Suite).
Don’t stop marketing
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – don’t stay quiet.
Not only does this help no one (yourself or your customers), but it also allows space for your competitors to get ahead.
After all, the quieter you are, the louder they can be.
If you’d like a helping hand with navigating your marketing during the current economic climate, contact us.