Squeezing blood from a stone
Just as the pandemic looks to be waning, we have a cost-of-living crisis to contend with (someone must have stepped on a butterfly in an alternate universe, what with all the apocalyptic challenges we’ve faced in the last few years).
From the poor to the very rich, everyone has been affected by rising costs, even if it’s only the former group who will have sleepless nights about whether they will be able to eat the next day or have enough money to turn the heating on. The comfortable, the well off, and the decidedly rich may have to think more carefully about their spending decisions, but it’s unlikely they’ll feel the pinch in the same way.
As a business, your target market will have less money to spend. Even the mega-rich may have to choose between a Ferrari and a customised yacht, whereas, a few years ago, they may not have had to make that choice and would have bought them both with little thought. That they may have to make a choice means the companies they spend their money with must work harder to win their business. Sales may not come as easily as they have done in recent years.
It's the same premise at the other end of the wealth spectrum, even if your target market has much, much less in their bank account than multi-millionaires have. They’re still going to have to make choices about what they spend their money on, even if these are as stark as ‘heating’ or ‘eating’. Everyone in-between these two extremes will also be applying conscious thought to their spending.
It's nice to walk through a clothes shop or supermarket and not have to think about the prices of the items you put in your basket nor how much they’ll add up to. This may still be the case for some, but many more people today will have no choice but to stick to their shopping list and/or budget, with no room for extras, treats, impulse purchases or bulk buys.
Whatever you sell—whether this is a product or service—your audience will likely be cutting back. Your own costs as a business will have risen, which means you might be thinking about cutting back yourself. However, your marketing efforts need to work harder than ever…you need to convince your customers that they should cut back on something else, and not the product or service you provide. If you sit back and say nothing, you will be out of sight, out of mind, and an easy option to dismiss. If, however, you make more effort to whet the whistles of your customers, they will find another way to claw back some cash.
We’re not saying you should plough even more money into your marketing—money that you will probably have even less of in the current crisis. What we are suggesting is that you continue with your current budget, but you ensure that every penny you spend is working for you—bringing you under the noses of your target customers. Marketing strategy is crucial, and if you don’t have one, you could be throwing good money after bad, or you may be aimlessly shouting about your business without thought of who should be listening.
Brett Riley-Tomlinson, director of Novus Marketing Solutions, is a qualified marketing consultant who spends a lot of his time working with businesses on their marketing strategy. Because, without a plan, a lot of your efforts could be wasted, and no company or enterprise can afford to do that anymore.
Your other option, of course, is to stick your head in the sand and/or stop any marketing spend. That’s your prerogative, but all that does is give your competitors—who may be savvy enough to understand that you have to market your way out of a crisis—carte blanch to take your remaining customers from you.
Because (foolishly) businesses typically cut all spending when things are tight, a crisis is actually an opportunity to gather more customers.
Let the less bold fall by the wayside—the successful businesses know that they have to continue to speculate to accumulate when the chips are down.
If you would like a marketing strategy consultation, contact Brett on 07983 575934.