Rise to the challenge: Digital marketing in prolonged economic uncertainty

18 Oct, 2021
By Sam Brand

The economic uncertainty caused by the health pandemic is still being felt across the board. While many organisations seek to cut back their marketing spend to preserve cash flow, your customers are spending even more of their time online - meaning greater opportunities for digital marketing to succeed.

 

Staying up to date with the latest trends in digital marketing and ensure you have a great digital function in place for business continuity and success - no matter the economic market!

  1. Social Commerce

E-commerce continues to grow exponentially into 2021, with revenues jumping 7% in the UK to $104bn and companies are keen to take advantage of the huge numbers of consumers who are increasingly using social media to browse shopping brands online.

Social commerce aims to maximise the opportunities for sales on social media sites by enabling consumers complete purchases in social apps without being redirected to switch apps or sign in to another site. Shoppable posts inspire purchases and reduce cart abandonment.

  • Brand Activism

Brand Activism and social responsibility are increasingly important parts of any company's wider branding strategy. Scheduling platform, Sprout Social’s research suggests that  53% of people connect to companies whose values align with their own and strong, clearly defined values and beliefs backed up by action can help a brand stand out.

Thanks to Google’s new E.A.T (expertise, authority, trustworthiness) ranking factor, this type of branding will have a major impact on SEO and wider brand reputation.

  • Artificial Intelligence

Hubspot states that 63% of consumers already use AI without even knowing. it and its numerous applications mean that many brands such as Netflix, Starbucks and Sephora already use AI to connect with consumers.

Better AI will improve optimisation and analytics, allow for deeper personalisation, voice and visual search, and provide seamless, more intelligent sounding chatbot technology.

  • Progressive Web Apps

The importance of mobile apps should not be understated. Pew Research Center outlines that 58% of 18-29 year olds use a smartphone as their main way to access the internet. However, apps have limitations. They are often limited to one platform such as iOS or Android and mean that users have to download specific apps to access content.

Progressive Web Apps bring the functionality of a native mobile app - fast load times, push notifications, offline access, a home screen button etc. - to websites transforming the customer experience and increasing sales and conversion rates.

  • Privacy & Consent

Users are more concerned than ever before with control over their data. Changes to data protection laws in Europe and the UK as well as large fines levied against those failing to protect customers’ personal data prompted companies to examine their attitude toward data privacy.

With Google, Facebook and Apple beginning to phase out support for third-party cookies,  and the rise of server-side tracking, there is a huge push towards using and processing data more ethically.

How to market in a downturn

According to the Guardian, successive lockdowns and the ongoing impact of Brexit on the UK economy have led to fears that the country is heading toward a double-dip recession. Covid-19 has also had an impact on the wider global economic situation.

Here are some tips on successfully marketing during an economic downturn.

Identify your audience behaviours

In a downturn the usual market segments (age, income, lifestyle) become less relevant for B2C marketing. Instead, consumers fall into groups based on their emotional response.

‘Slam-on-the-brakes’ - This group feels the most vulnerable and financially hardest hit. They are those with the lowest income or those with situations such as unemployment or health problems. They reduce all spending by cutting out or postponing purchases.

‘Pained-but-patient’ - Mostly optimistic about the long-term situation but less confident about their short-term ability to maintain their standard of living. They represent the majority and will economise but not as deeply.

‘Comfortably well-off’ - This group feel secure in their ability to weather recessions; they maintain their consumption levels but are more selective in their purchases. People in top income brackets are those who are stable in their financial situation e.g., comfortably retired, low-risk investors.

‘Live-for-today’ - Typically younger and more urban, often renters; this group are unconcerned about savings and continue as usual. They are unlikely to change their habits unless hit with unemployment.

B2B marketing fall into relatively similar brackets, but without the ‘Live-for-today’ attitude. Marketing for B2B clients needs to be positioned as a way to ‘keep the lights on’ whilst other services, departments or operations are scaled down to preserve cash flow. The challenge here lies in defining the value of marketing succinctly and with strong proof points.

Other important functions marketing should include/cover are:

  • Develop your brand narrative and USPs

Having a well-defined brand remains key. 66% of consumers connect to a trusted brand and many customers need extra reassurance in their purchasing decisions and an increased emotional connection during a downturn.

By focussing on ways your brand or agency can uniquely address the needs of your customers (or your customers’ customers) you will increase their loyalty. For example, do the services you offer enable your customers to save in other areas? Listening to your customers will enable you to deliver more relevant messaging.

  • Create a strong team of digital marketers

Define your ideal team structure by setting out what skills are most relevant to your long-term strategy and focus. If you are aiming to provide SEO optimisation services you’ll need someone with a strong SEO background, if your main focus is email marketing look for a strong copywriter.

Soft skills are just as important as hard skills and can often be overlooked in interviews. Communication, leadership, time-management and critical thinking will set the best candidates apart from the pack.

Defining job descriptions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at this stage will help you in the long term as they set expectations from the outset. Alongside regular evaluations and upskilling opportunities they will also help you develop a culture of support that will attract top digital marketing talent.

How can Energize help recruit top digital talent?

Energize empowers organisations to access high-value local talent supported by specialist Consultants experienced in scaling businesses with the experts they need.

The Energize Group offers niche, premium staffing solutions on both a permanent and freelance basis to customers in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and the United States of America.

We can help you create truly diverse and inclusion-led recruitment strategies to ensure you’re attracting a diverse talent pool. From job advert language assessment, to supporting and nurturing established female talent, we can help you readdress the gender imbalance in tech and digital. For expert guidance contact Energize Group today.

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