Uncertainty is the only certainty it seems like in 2022. It’s become simply too hard to predict the trends in the economy. It’s even harder to predict what business models and strategies will succeed in the long run. The world is changing rapidly and so are the customer’s perceptions, needs, and challenges.
There are just a few reliable rules for businesses trying to win in such a market. Having a high-quality product and delivering excellent service is of course paramount. It’s in fact the basic necessity. If you do not have that, you will soon find yourself on the sidelines and your competitors racing away.
Traditionally, businesses tend to cut costs and try to limit spending as much as possible in a period of uncertainty hoping to navigate the period and come out of the other side unscathed. But the rules of the game are changing. There is certainly a case to be made for making digital marketing a central part of your business strategy.
We at FVG certainly believe this. The best way to deal with uncertain markets and the economy is by staying committed to your marketing strategy and plans. In this blog, we will give you some reasons why this is the most sensible thing to do. We will also cover a few tips about how best to adapt your digital marketing strategies to uncertainties. Let’s go!
Why Digital Marketing is Key in Navigating Uncertainty
It’s hard for business leaders to spend and justify spending, especially during a time of economic downturn. The most common strategy that businesses adopt involve layoffs, spending discretionary spending, hiring freezes, and other such cost-cutting strategies. Scaling back on digital and offline marketing is also quite a common practice. Sales teams are under pressure to deliver results and often it’s the case that if sales do not happen, there will be layoffs there too.
If we are to look back at the lessons we learned from the previous recessions and times of economic turmoil, the companies that survived tell a very different tale. A study involving 3900 companies by Bain showed that the companies that came out of the recession better and achieved double-digit growth in the following years followed a few common strategies. They were ready to take on some extra costs during the downturn, invest in projects and strategies that help them in the long run, and also spend before their competitors did.
The study throws light on the importance of how organizations approach uncertainty, and how their strategies adapt. In today’s world, digital marketing is absolutely one of the most critical aspects of your business, and spending in this domain is key in navigating the period of uncertainty successfully.
There are a few specific reasons that need to be highlighted too.
Digital Marketing is About Building Long Term Relationships
If we are to compare results from organizations that approach digital as a quick fix and those who are ready to invest in it long term, there is no question that the ones with a more long-term perspective win. SEO, social media, content marketing, email marketing, and all other forms of digital marketing are aimed at conversions and lead generation, but they also take into account customer journeys. The aim is not just to get customers into the door but to lead them through the various stages of the decision making process, educate them about your product/service, get them to make a purchase decision, and convert them to evangelists.
The best marketing teams focus on the entire lifecycle of a customer and not just on the rudimentary basics. Since the focus is on building long-term relationships, it’s not something that you can cut down on in times of uncertainty. Your potential customers are also not spending freely, but their pain points remain, and may even be exacerbated. If you are a brand focused on solving these problems, your customers need you more when times are rough.
The Habit of Content Consumption
Content marketing strategies followed by most organizations and the amount of quality content that is out there in the market has created a habit of content consumption. There is a reason why organizations have been spending heavily on content creation– it works and the target audience consumes it. Effective content marketing can deliver as many as three times as many leads as traditional marketing while costing less.
During times of uncertainty as your potential customers are facing immense challenges. They are of course turning to their reliable sources for content on how to navigate these challenges. The pandemic was a case in point. Most brands were focused on areas such as remote work and engaging employees and these types of content garnered massive attention.
Marketing efforts revolve around great content, and the audience expects it from your brand. Giving them this consistently is key to improving awareness and ultimately revenue generation.
How to Adapt Your Digital Marketing Strategies to Suit a Time of Uncertainty
All of the above discussion just cements the need for a continued focus on digital marketing. This however does not mean that you can be reckless with your spending. When the times are tough, you need to double down on expertise and experience. Here are some solid strategies that will help you tailor your digital strategies to times of uncertainty.
Reanalyze Your Business Goals
One of the first things to do is to look at the goals that you set out to achieve and adapt them to the new circumstances. Business goals also undergo these changes consistently where you would need to reassess and change targets based on where you are. This process should apply to digital marketing goals too.
Lead generation is likely to be the main goal for most campaigns. But if the markets are uncertain and you are unsure about customers spending, maybe reducing the focus on lead generation and increasing the focus on engagement is a great idea. It’s basically just changing the weights you assign to each of your individual goals. What metrics and KPIs you are tracking will also change depending on this.
Re-evaluating your goals will help you focus your efforts on key areas and not waste time chasing goals that are not possible to achieve. During times when resources need to be judiciously used, this is a very smart strategy.
Focus on Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy
A time of volatility is a great time to reevaluate your existing content strategy. There are newer opportunities to explore and probably lesser resources to rely on. So focusing on good clean effective content over the quantity of content is key. Look at your buyer personas and demographics to see what the audience is looking for. It makes sense to renew your keyword research efforts to include new content ideas.
Rather than create a large number of pieces of content, it makes sense to create relevant content that the audience wants. Sharpen your content calendar to include new content formats and topics. Go in-depth to show your expertise on a particular subject matter.
There are quite a lot of content formats available today and the list is quite endless.
- White Papers
- Case Studies
Narrowing down on content types that give you the best results is key when you are trying to reduce the effort. Doing a content audit is also a great way to understand what content pieces have worked well in the past, what topics have found traction, and other such ideas.
Redefining what a successful content marketing strategy looks like for your business in the context of uncertainty is critical in realizing what matters and what areas to focus on. You may not be able to do a lot but doing what is effective is important.
Social Media is Key
It’s hard to keep social media out of any discussion about digital marketing. When times are uncertain, your social media marketing is going to be integral in maintaining engagement with your target audience and potential customers. Having a good social presence is important as most customers do thorough research before making a buying decision and when they are more careful about spending, the research is likely to be more thorough.
Social media is also a great way to engage with the audience, listen to their challenges and pain points, and also best for publishing good content. Social media platforms are critical in gaining visibility among new audiences and this is very important in a time of uncertainty.
Rethink Ad Spends
Planning your ad spending on search engine PPC ads or social media ads is also advisable. By this, we do not mean that you have to cut down on all ads and not spend at all. It simply means being more frugal and smarter in what you spend your money on.
Doing deeper research on what the search trends are, what kind of ads are working on social and what call to action are relevant will help you determine how to optimize your spending better and narrow down on key messages.
Tracking and Measuring are Essential
The final aspect we would like to focus on is how tracking and measuring become central to your strategy. If you are to reduce your effort, make do with less spending and focus only on what’s working, you need to know how the audience is reacting to what you are doing. Google Analytics will give you quite a lot of insights on this front regarding your website and how the audience behavior is.
Beyond this, look at your landing pages, social shares and likes, content page views, and other such metrics to understand which formats and content pieces are working well. Once you identify this, you can focus on replicating this further. A good marketing tool will also help you track and measure your marketing campaigns more easily, rather than relying on excel files.
Navigating difficult economic conditions is becoming a regular affair. Given the increasing frequencies of recession cycles and increased ambiguity and volatility, businesses are being forced to reinvent themselves to be agile and nimble. Digital marketing has been steadily growing in influence and is a key factor in the transformation businesses are undergoing today.
Efficiency and effectiveness are the watchwords today in digital marketing where you do not have the luxury of spending a lot and waiting for results to come. You need to be looking at what’s working, focusing on these, and most importantly experimenting and failing fast.
It’s also critical to note that progress over perfection is what defines the times we are in. You cannot wait till you hatch the perfect content marketing plan or a digital strategy. You get to 80% and then you optimize as you go.
Finally, if you are to work with limited budgets and resources and still achieve success, you need experts on board. FVG has been supporting various organizations through tough economic climates for years now. We help you cut down on your digital marketing operational costs by 30-50% while delivering stellar results. Talk to us today!