Imagine – you’ve got your marketing strategy in place. You know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and everything is on track. Then, a crisis hits.
The best laid plans of mice and men… Thanks to the last two years, that’s a situation that businesses are all too familiar with. But there are ways in which you can build resilience into your marketing strategy, that will in turn build resilience into your business.
Resilient marketing means being able to recover quickly during tough times and to grow and thrive in spite of challenges. This should be a core aim in any marketing strategy, and no doubt is more important now than ever before.
Adapt alongside your customers
You may already have a buyer persona – a fictional being who embodies the exact person you want to sell to. But even fictional people grow and change over time. When looking to build resilience in marketing, it’s vital not to be complacent. You need to continue learning more about who your audience is and what they need.
New customer segments can emerge during a crisis, as groups react differently to new circumstances. While some customers might want to live for today with no concern for savings, others may put their spending on hold as they are worried about the future.
Continue gathering new information and data, and stay on top of current affairs. Resilience isn’t only about responding to a crisis when it happens. It’s about ensuring that your marketing strategy is constantly up-to-date so that you are already in the best position possible if problems do arise.
Be ready to react
Ensure that your business is ready to adapt to new challenges and contexts. This means being willing to shift your priorities to stay on top of your customers’ needs.
The pandemic drastically changed people’s daily habits, and therefore their spending habits and interests. For example, professionals need less new workwear due to remote working. A good strategy for a workwear clothing brand might therefore be to work on marketing upper-body wear for Zoom meetings and to introduce more comfortable styles.
Being quick to fill the gap made by new contexts will put you ahead of your competitors. So, make sure that you have the resources in place to produce new campaigns fast. This will involve having in-house or outsourced talent on hand to promote new messages or products across multiple channels.
Look after your customers
Nurturing a loyal customer base will ensure that customers keep coming back to you, even in times of hardship. The longer a customer is with your brand, the more opportunities you have to sell to them.
Plus, understanding who your best customers are will help you to find more of them. Using lookalike audiences for email marketing or pay-per-click social media ads can be beneficial here. Use an existing email list within Mailchimp to make use of their built-in lookalike audience tool.
What’s more, selling to existing customers through ‘relationship marketing’ can be six or seven times cheaper than traditional marketing – read all about how you can nurture customer relationships. During an economic crisis, making your marketing budget work smarter, not harder, is the key to success.
Take feedback on board
It’s important not to just smooth over the cracks when you receive negative feedback. Listen to your customers, and make the necessary changes within your business to avoid further complaints in the future. Negative feedback can come in the form of direct email complaints, social media mentions, or negative reviews on Google or your website.
Getting in touch with customers directly to resolve their issues should be the first step in damage control. But you should then go on to deal with the wider issue that’s caused the complaint. If your customers are finding that your products aren’t as described, work on improving them or changing your product descriptions to be more realistic.
If you are providing a service, ensure you have proper complaints processes in place so that each individual case is dealt with respectfully and professionally. Taking on board any ethical concerns to do with things like accessibility, diversity or sustainability is key to building a strong reputation.
Taking on feedback is essential for good PR and retaining customers. Think of complaints from this positive angle: it’s free customer feedback, where they are telling you exactly where you need to improve. This growth mindset is essential if you want to build resilience in marketing.
It’s been said many times before, but digital really is the future. Two-thirds of consumers have increased the amount of shopping they do online because of coronavirus. Regardless of how the pandemic progresses, it’s likely that this trend will continue, as consumers will be more used to shopping online. Besides this, eCommerce allows you to reach more customers than ever before – with no need for every customer to visit your storefront, the sky’s the limit.
As for B2B, many previously face-to-face networking events will likely continue online, due to their convenience and their ability to easily bring professionals together from across the country. So, digital is more important for networking than ever before. Check out our directory of local networking events in York.
Digital marketing provides so many opportunities for new touchpoints with customers, whether it’s through a PR opportunity in an online publication, company blog posts, email campaigns, or social media. If you want to reach your customers quickly and strengthen relationships with them, there’s no better way to do it than with digital marketing.
Think beyond the present
No one knows how long the effects of the pandemic will last, but what we do know is that it will pass. To be truly resilient in marketing, you must look beyond crisis response and prepare for the good times ahead.
By being prepared for a crisis, you will spend less time scrambling to recover and can devote more time to getting ahead. You’ll then be able to spend more time investing time developing new products and services, staying on top of upcoming trends, and getting big campaign plans ready for when things begin to look up.
Want more advice on how to build resilience in marketing? We offer 45 minute consultancies to help your business succeed. Get in touch with us to get booked in.