Rising interest rates, fuel prices and load shedding have created uncertainty for many South African companies. In these tough economic times, companies re-assess their budgets and one of the first areas considered for reduction is the marketing budget as this is seen as an expense, rather than an investment.
However, it is crucial that businesses continue marketing themselves as although cutting back on marketing spend may seem to provide a viable solution in the short-term, the long-term consequences can have a detrimental effect on the financial security and growth of a business.
Here are 5 marketing tips to consider in a tough economy:
1. Talk strategy with your marketing team
The primary aim of any business is to move forward, regardless of the state of the economy. Before taking any decision to reduce marketing spend, discuss all the available options with your marketing team; it is likely they can provide and implement revised strategies that will assist with achieving your goals, even with budgetary restrictions.
Technology provides many budget-friendly communication tools for estate agencies that maximise ROI, such as chatbots, interactive video, blogs and property portals, which keep the lines of communication open with your clients, as well as rank higher in search engines.
2. Keep your eye on the competition
Established and successful companies who endure through global recessions and economic downturns have learned that it is vitally important to maintain ongoing contact with their customers through repetitive messaging and market visibility.
Be mindful that should your business decide to alter budget and revise strategy, your competitors may not, thus taking the advantage of stepping into the gap you unknowingly create, especially in such a competitive and niche industry like property sales and rentals.
3. Adapt your marketing message
In a stable market, the business strategy is to drive sales and build relationships. However, during market instability, it is advisable to shift focus to a more personalised, relationship-building strategy – keep your messaging positive!
Using COVID-19 as an example, companies altered their messaging strategies, using sensitivity and empathy to demonstrate support for their clients, while still ensuring that their brand remained top of mind.
4. Client retention
Your marketing strategy is designed to strengthen your company’s relationship with your clients. Reduced visibility and messaging can leave your clients with the impression your business is in financial difficulty and the possibility of shutting down.
Marketing to existing clients is more effective and less expensive than trying to source new ones – your clients are invested in your success and will continue to maintain loyalty to your brand, and services, with open and honest communication.
5. Making up lost ground
When the market becomes more positive and showing an upturn, you may find it difficult to gain back lost market share and meet your business goals.
Rather than scaling back, ensure your strategy is consistent, with maximum reach and your business will not lose months, or even years, of progress.
Marketing in tough times requires businesses to remember that any investment in marketing, regardless of the chosen media mix and budget allocation, is better than completely cutting off spending. By incorporating the aforementioned tips and adopting a proactive marketing approach, companies can effectively position themselves for success even when facing economic challenges.
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