News & insights
Digital marketing in challenging times
There’s no doubt that we’re currently in uncertain times, now we’re faced with this global pandemic. Big events are being cancelled, borders with a lot of countries are closed and we’re being urged to exercise caution with ‘social distancing’ to minimize contact.
In tough times the first reaction of entrepreneurs is to cut back on spending wherever they can. And too often marketing is at the top of the list of cutbacks. We see a lot of capable business owners pulling back on their marketing activities. But is this a wise decision? We believe it’s not.
Why cutting marketing during difficult times will hurt a business
Building trust and changing people’s minds and behaviours takes time. Every time a company cuts its marketing, they’re resetting that and end up spending more money and time trying to get it back than if they left the strategy in place.
Some entrepreneurs assume that their company will maintain its position in the market and keep a stable level of sales and revenue over time. But it will not!
We’ve discovered 4 consequences that show why cutting marketing just makes things a lot worse in the long term:
- People won’t find the company
- The company can’t drive leads
- The company will lose credibility
- People will forget about the company
Without marketing investments, industrial companies cannot hang on to their market position for long. They will keep losing existing customers, and increasingly struggle to win new ones. The value of marketing should be assessed against the likely decline in revenue as a result of inaction.
Industrial businesses must evaluate each element of their marketing budget, and determine whether it is part of the solution or an unnecessary cost. That could mean cancelling or postponing an order for new roll-up banners, but saying ‘yes’ to create a new landing page on the website.
7 Strategies to make marketing work in challenging times
Research done by Harvard Business Review shows that companies that act early, take a long term perspective and don’t give up on growth initiatives were able to drive continued growth despite challenging economic conditions. What at first may seem like a bold or risky strategy is in reality, a well-documented and proven action to increase revenue.
A company that stays committed to marketing during challenging times:
- Prevents a downward spiral of falling behind
- Gains market share from competitors who cut back
- Positions itself for growth when times are tough
We believe that strengthening the digital presence through a market downturn creates a competitive advantage for the market upturn. Every euro spent in these times, gives extra credits for the future; when everything is back to business as usual.
Successful industrial entrepreneurs should be thinking strategically on how to make their digital marketing more effective, álso during bad times.
Here are 7 strategies to make marketing work in challenging times:
1. Don’t cut marketing at the first sign of trouble
Cutting marketing to defend profits in the immediate short term will leave a brand weakened and much less profitable post-recession. Instead: industrial companies should take a longer-term view and maintain a healthy level of marketing investment through a recession.
This enables strong businesses to grab market share from weaker and more cautious competitors. And will make them stand out from their competitors.
2. Focus on what makes the company different
When business becomes harder to win, the companies and brands that succeed are the ones that stand out from the crowd.
What sets the company apart from the competition? Fine tune the pitch, focus on the areas of highest ROI and/or growth and define clear messages for the target market. Make sure that the brand message is up to date and consistent across all activities.
Zoom in on the USPs. Why should customers pick you over the competition? Marketing helps to express key marketing messages with clarity and purpose to the target customers. Without it, people will forget about the company and they’ll lose brand awareness.
Communication is crucial during uncertain times and should happen early and often. People, followers, customers and prospects need to understand the what, why, and potentially how behind actions such as policy changes. Even if no actions are needed, a company should provide reassurance that leadership is on top of the crisis.
Through times of uncertainty a company can demonstrate concern, strengthen trust, and reinforce brand pillars. Consider the tone of voice, striking a balance between formality and personal connection.
Use E-mail marketing to tell whether the business is still operating as normal or with different operating hours. Think of sending something really appropriate which might just keep them feel special and continue to support the business.
With Social Media, a company can continue all brand