Business Insights

Business Insights

5 things NOT to do with your marketing in challenging times

We’ve all learned a lot over the last few years. For businesses, that includes the importance of thorough planning - knowing how to respond to situations as and when they arise. 

Marketing will play a huge role in preparing and securing your business for volatile markets. It’ll help you - and, in turn, your customers - to have confidence in your business. 

There are plenty of marketing activities you should be doing, which we explain in this guide. However, knowing the things you shouldn’t do is just as important. Here are five to bear in mind.

 

1. Don’t accept the negative

Across both traditional and social media, negativity prevails in testing times. It can be easy just to accept this as the norm, but adopting a negative mindset is unlikely to help you move forward. 

Instead, go against the grain. Communicate with your customers. Learn what you can about their biggest concerns. In a sea of negative sentiment, be a beacon of calm: a reassuring presence in your market that will help customers realise they can get through this. 

 

2. Don’t take unnecessary risks

If what you normally do isn’t working anymore - or if you feel pressured to do something different - be sure to do it right. It can be tempting to take a bit of a gamble in a bid to get through a turbulent situation, but is this really the right approach?

It may feel like you need to work more urgently than normal when times are tough. Any major decisions, though, can have significant consequences. 

Don’t take unnecessary risks, no matter how tempting it is. A solid marketing plan, plus fully testing everything from new marketing campaigns to new products, will help pave the way to success.

 

Get our step-by-step guide to preparing and securing your business in volatile markets.

Get the guide

 

3. Don’t play your marketing by ear

You’ve worked hard to create your brand and define your target audience, with everything your business does tailored to attract the right kind of customers. If challenging times mean that reaching these people is harder, what do you do? 

For some, it may be tempting to cast the net wider. However, broadening your reach and approaching leads outside of your target market won’t win you customers. Instead, it will dilute your brand and waste your efforts. For your marketing to work - and work well - your strategy needs to be highly focused and goal-driven

 

4. Don’t abandon your budget

Successful budgeting in marketing is based on a well-defined marketing plan. This planning will give structure and purpose to your budget. 

Creating a marketing plan and defining your budget are tasks where you’ll have invested a great deal of time and effort. So why throw all that away? 

When it comes to times of uncertainty, don’t panic. Sales and revenue may decline in the short term, but cutting investment or throwing money at the issue without proper budgeting is a recipe for disaster. Instead, revisit your business goals and look at what marketing activities you can undertake in a specific time frame to achieve them - being sure to put the appropriate metrics in place to measure the success of this activity.

 

5. Don’t forget about ROI

Good marketing pays for itself. Bad marketing will cost you money and time - and potentially your reputation. 

Before making any rash decisions, think about the potential impact on your bottom line. Take a look at your marketing dashboard to see the impact your current activity is having.

Sales, offers and emergency discounts can seem like a simple way to bring in new business. In reality, all they’ll do is reduce margin, make you look desperate, and damage your brand. 

In any situation, your customers will normally buy what they need. By making your products and services less expensive, you’re not doing them a favour: you’re harming your business. 

 

The best-laid plans…

At any time, a solid plan is key to successful marketing. During times of uncertainty, this is even more true. 

Drastic action and kneejerk reactions are tempting when revenues have slowed. Before making rash decisions, though, stop and think: is this really the best solution for my brand in the longer term? 

For more on what not to do - and what to do - in uncertain times, download our free guide.

 

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Written by Christine Durkin

Christine Durkin is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 25 years’ experience working in Telco, SaaS, Financial Sectors, and Agencies.

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