MARKETING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES: STRATEGIES FOR COMPANIES AND ENTREPRENEURS ALIKE
Uncertainty produces anxiety and anxiety breeds resistance. Therefore, the higher the level of uncertainty, the more likely the resistance blocks any type of transformational effort. There are various reasons that can cause uncertain times in an economy, from war economic crisis to technological disruption as well as political upheaval. Within an organization, uncertainty brought about by all these changes has the ability to be amplified by hearsays as well as break room conversations among employees which makes it difficult for them to trust workplace culture and leadership which impacts their ability to perform at their best. As a result of this rapid change, some companies will batten down the hatches while others will choose to downsize. In terms of marketing, most companies will tend to shift from long-term strategies to short-term sales. However, in order for a company to emerge from the tough times in good competitive shape, they have to rise above the storm and use their budgets effectively and creatively as marketers or an organization in general.
There are various moves companies/entrepreneurs can pull to stay afloat or even come out on top during these uncertain times and they include:
Reviewing the company’s marketing plan
During challenging times it is important to re-examine strategies set in a marketing plan. In doing so, some vulnerabilities and opportunities could be uncovered. Better put, companies may find opportunities in the vulnerabilities created by the instability. Ask yourself as a company/entrepreneur: “What are some of the pressures that my customers are facing and how can I reasonably solve them?
Keep on marketing
Too many a times business owners panic during unstable periods and opt to cut their marketing-sales budgets and instead focus on operations and existing customers. However, choosing not to market mean choosing to leave sales up to chance as well as allowing shrinkage of your business due to no new customers. Instead, companies should find ways to maximise on their advertising copies i.e. compensate for a reduced spend brought about by the unstable economy with a stronger, more impactful and creative ad copy. It may be inevitable that the marketing-sales budget may be cut, however, stronger creative ads may increase brand awareness as well as provide a powerful leverage for your brand/business to maintaing visibility. As out of sight is out of mind.
Use promotions sparingly
Uncertainty in the economy does not only affect companies in general, the customers too are affected. During these periods, consumers’ best strategy is to reduce spending to avoid not being liquid. Therefore, using of promotions as an incentive, especially price promotions, could work as a strategy to increase company sales in the short-term. Reduction of prices on some products or services that act as necessities in most households or other companies such as motor fuel or groceries can give a company some competitive edge. Businesses need to be careful not to eat deeply into their revenues to run the promotions as this could lead to greater losses.
Strike out with confidence
During uncertain times, most companies, customers, and employees seek surety and they search for it wherever they can find. The best thing for any company/entrepreneur to do especially during uncertain periods is to act authoritatively while looking and sounding confident in their fields. This can be done through being part of discussions pertaining to their industry on various platforms or publishing articles or blogs giving seemingly great advice to tackle certain issues.
In conclusion, no company /entrepreneur is able to pre-determine their working conditions, with positive and proactive management, brands can ensure their long-term success even during uncertain times.