The last two years have been “unprecedented times” including the pandemic, Ukraine/Russian war, supply chain issues, and more.
Historically, during times of change like a recession, the instinct is to cut marketing first to refocus resources on efforts that will directly support the business. However, that’s counterintuitive since marketing is the reason why a brand will ride through hard times because it’s through marketing that we build trust with our customers.
Marketing helps you retain customers
One of the biggest dangers in a recession or large societal change is when consumers begin looking for ways to cut costs and be smarter about their money.
If you have built a strong loyalty in your customers, this time is actually advantageous for you to get new customers who are looking for alternatives. However, if you have not invested in building strong relationships with your customers, then it increases the risk of turnover. Specifically, if your brand has not built a value or relationship beyond the price, you will end up in a price war.
What if you have to raise the price?
Raising prices is a part of the process but feels inevitable given the current state of record-high inflation and your business is starting to see your margins decrease over time. Your end consumer is smart and they understand that things get expensive over time. If they trust you and integrally use your product or service in their life then even when you increase the prices they’ll still choose to stick around.
The point when they won’t is because they no longer believe the price you’re charging matches their expectation of the product or service that you provide.
Everything in marketing is about building value for your customer.
If you have done your marketing in a humanistic way well then you would have been building trust and loyalty with customers up to this point. This will serve you well when their buying habits start to change for example:
- Exploring alternatives to save money and increase savings
- Pivoting their lives due to lifestyle changes such as re-entering the office or changing the way they operate their business
If you have successfully built value and rapport with your customers, they’re less likely to want to try new services because they trust your brand more and in turn tell their friends who are looking for alternatives about you.
Make your marketing work smarter
No matter what the end goal of your business is designed to do, the end goal for marketing is to attract and retain customers.
If we put in perspective of cost of acquisition which is the cost it takes to bring a customer through the door. Your cost will increase if you’re unable to get your new customer to come back through the door. The cost gets amplified as the pricing for advertising continues to increase due to supply and demand from your competitors. However, when you focus on maintaining the relationship you have built, that cost will go down and the value of your customer relationship will increase because they’re bringing in new customers.
Focus on building the relationship
So how do you lower the cost of acquisition? Assess your customer journey to see where you could optimize it to build more trust. Ask yourself:
- How are we presenting the value of our brand and the impact we’re making?
- Is our brand only solving a transactional need? Or are we also adding value to our customers’ lives beyond solving that initial need that makes them very excited every time they experience us?
- Are we creating a follow-up experience that feels as personable as the original sales experience?
- Are there ways we can invite our customers to engage with us after each purchase where they can bring a friend in a non-sales fashion?
What your competition is doing?
While it may always feel like a ranking contest to obtain a larger market share. Even the most stable brand can lose touch with what the true needs of customers really are. That’s where you can come in to offer a personable, high-value experience that is a great alternative to what the larger company is offering.
Key questions to ask:
- Ask what are the service and experiences that they’re offering and how you can make it more personable for your customers?
- What are you bringing to the market that your competitors aren’t doing that allows you to stand out?
See how you can create content that amplifies what you’re uniquely bringing to the market through tried and true marketing tactics.
Tried and True Marketing Tactics
While technology will constantly evolve there is a direction that it’s heading towards human customization. Most technological advances are around shrinking the gap between “in real life (IRL)” and “Digital”. As consumers get savvier about what they want to purchase, they’ll look out for key indicators below and there are key marketing campaigns that you can run:
- Do they have a real person they can talk to? Use an automated messaging system and messenger dashboards for your team to communicate with your audience in a variety of ways
- Are other people using this product? User-Generated content: the visual representation of word of mouth and it’s the social proof needed to show that your product or service is worth investing in
- What’s the risk of trying out this product? Is there an offer or guarantee that can sweeten the deal to get someone to try it for a while
- How long have they heard about your brand and by whom? Influencer and advertising content that show social proof of concept.
- Is this company here to stay? Creating mission-oriented activations and content that speak to the larger mission and issues in our community that we’re trying to solve.
Remember everything ebbs and flows
Change is constant in our world and while there is a low, there will be a high. The key to creating a resilient brand is our ability to ride the wave of change. It’s our willingness to adapt and re-invest in building trust with our customers that will help us maintain brand loyalty during this time.
If you’re unsure of what to do next to navigate the wave of change, feel free to contact me directly to schedule a discovery call.