4 Things to Consider When Marketing in a Cost-of-Living Crisis

Some economists predict that there could be a recession this year or early next and news like that, of course, makes you start to take stock of your own business incomings and more importantly outgoings. Read on for my thoughts and advice on things to consider when marketing in a cost-of-living crisis.

With Marketing as one of your biggest expenses, the question of whether you should maintain momentum or make some budget cuts is often one of the first that comes up in times of financial uncertainty. I firmly believe stopping or reducing marketing is one of the last things you should be doing.

As Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” If you don’t believe me, read what Harvard Business Review has to say on the subject.

1. Reconsider your budget allocation

Make sure you’re spending your money on the right things and tweak your marketing mix accordingly. If you’re marketing to the wrong people you’re wasting money.

The ‘pray and spray’ approach is wasteful and doesn’t work in times of tight budgets and money worries. You need to be strategic in who you’re marketing to. Highly targeted marketing with a results-driven approach is vital. Paid search campaigns are a great way to find your potential customers and serve them the right messaging

Paid search advertising helps you find potential customers who have already taken the first steps to commitment- they know what they are looking for and are already warm. It’s a really cost-effective way of marketing and relies on you working to define your buying personas and messaging.

Remember, as all of your competitors panic and begin to retreat you are ready and waiting to fill the gap.

2. Define your Perfect Customer

Work on defining your customer personas and know them like the back of your hand. Marketing personas represent your ideal customer within your target audience and can help you target the interest and desires of the customers you are hoping to reach.

You want to understand the problems you and your service or product are going to solve for your target customer. Personas are a good way to increase the relevance of your advertising and campaigns and ensure you reach the right people with your messaging. 

Once you’ve got a cast iron persona it makes targeting and selling to the right people a lot easier.

3. Sell Effectively to your Current Customers

You realise the true value of your current customers in harder times. It’s much cheaper to sell to your clients who have bought from you before than trying to convince a new person that your brand is the way to go. Make sure you have your priorities straight. How is your customer experience? Does it need work? How is your communication strategy? Could it be improved? 

Consider up-selling and cross-selling and the opportunities this could bring. Your customers are also a pool of referrals just waiting to be tapped. 

Set some of your marketing budgets aside for tailor-made corporate gifts that will engage with your audience and delight 

Home to an unrivaled section of branded merchandise, at Streamline, we stock everything from classic clothing & drinkware to the latest tech and eco-friendly products. We’ll help you wow your audience and maximise sales too.

Keep the lines of communication open. Be the brand presence that they can’t forget.

4. Capitalise on Brand Loyalty

In any time of uncertainty – recession or a cost of living crisis- people don’t fail to spend money on the things that define who they are. Don’t forget that subconsciously (or consciously) we’re loyal to the brands that we love.

Work on building trust with your target market first and foremost. Once you have trust, you can push your sales message. Value-based marketing that conveys the true value of your products is a great way to do this. Content such as blogs and case studies is a great addition to your marketing campaigns before you hit the hard sell. Content adds value helping prove how important your service is and communicating why they need it.

Once you have built trust and created brand ambassadors, you leverage this brand loyalty, yet balance it with your budget.

Luxury brands do this very well, they have a loyal client base and the wealthiest will continue to spend with them. However, you will have a brand community. For your local coffee shop, it’s geographically local, for a bank like Revolut, this is a global base made up of users, fans, subscribers, and evangelists. Yes, evangelists. People that love what they do and what they stand for.

Consider ways to build engagement through branded merchandise. I bought a bottle of whisky recently and got a free branded whisky glass with it. It remains my preferred glass when I fancy a tipple.

Accenture CEO, Julie Sweet, maintains that in the toughest times in 2020, a bespoke Accenture onboarding box with a personal message from her created an onboarding experience that was a step above competitors and helped them stand out in tough times.

If you are a low-mid-range quality brand. Focus on creating a range of branded merchandise that reflects the tougher times we may go through. Focus on functional items that are not perceived as so expensive (without devaluing your brand). 

Don’t forget to be the brand personality that you are, communicate faster and better than you have before, and stay present.

If you’re interested in adding branded merchandise to your marketing mix this year arrange a call with me and let’s talk through your options.