Unpredictable. Slow. Bleak. Grim. Gloomy. All words that have been used to describe the economic outlook for the balance of 2017.
Let’s face it, things don’t look too rosy and I’m guessing we’re going to have to tighten those belt buckles for a good time coming.
Whenever a recession or any kind of economic downturn hits, consumers and companies alike become more cautious with their money. Customers aren’t buying as much, which means that businesses have to cut costs to stay afloat. And since the customers aren’t buying, the thinking goes, why not cut advertising expenses?
What’s interesting is that research has shown that cutting ad spending during a recession hasn’t been shown to make companies any more profitable.
In fact, according to another study, reductions in ad spending may have actively hurt companies in the past.
Here are five ways to keep moving forward when times get a little tough.
1Be smart and thrifty, but don’t panic — This, too, shall pass
Economies all go through cycles of expansion and contraction. We love the expansion, but the downturns can be painful. If you’re smart, you’ve managed your balance sheet well and can ride out a period of slow or no growth. If not, you may have to make some cuts. Just be careful to trim fat and avoid cutting muscle as much as possible.
2Marketing is muscle, not fat – Be careful about cutting it
Just as the smartest investors view down markets as a time to buy when everybody else is selling, the savviest marketers know recessions are great times to pick up market share.
They understand that by maintaining their budgets (or even increasing them) they may not come out ahead during the down times, but they can pick up market share that will pay off in the long run.
Cutting your marketing spend is a sure way to give ground to competitors who may be more aggressive during the downturn.
3Don’t lose focus by chasing business you wouldn’t normally want
When clients and customers get nervous about the economy, they cut back their spending.
For you that could mean fewer transactions, smaller purchases, or possibly both. But if you try to broaden your core product or service appeal to please a wider audience, chances are you’ll make your best customers even less satisfied, giving them one more reason to stay home or spend less.
There’s a reason you don’t pursue certain types of customers when times are good, and that reason probably hasn’t changed. Do your best to stick to your niche and enhance the value you provide to your current customers. They may decide to make their cutbacks in areas other than yours.
It’s easy to think about discounting and running ‘specials’ during a downturn, but whether times are good or bad, discounting your price discounts your product.
During the last recession in the US both McDonald’s and Burger King put their Big Macs and Whoppers on sale so often that they trained their customers never to pay full price. That created a margin problem which ultimately took them years to recover from.
If you need to make your products more affordable, do so carefully and deliberately. But lower the price instead of offering a discount.
5Look after and reassure your staff
We live in a world where the latest news is a screen away. When news breaks, people know it, and economic news breaks every day. You don’t have to be an economist to know the business environment isn’t in the best shape right now.
Even if your company’s revenues are holding up during the downturn, your employees know there’s trouble and they’re nervous. Make sure they know you’re on top of things and have a plan.
There’s no telling what lies ahead over the next few months in South Africa. We may pull out of our economic rut more quickly than anticipated, or we may be in for a prolonged rough ride.
But one thing is certain, clients and customers will still need to eat. They still need transportation. They still seek entertainment, clothing, vacations, pet food, perfume, office supplies, computers, health products, and machinery. As the market tightens up, the best positioned players will survive and thrive. Avoid the mistake of cutting your marketing spend and you’re more likely to be one of them.
How Is Influencer Marketing Going To Change In The Future?
How is influencer marketing going to be in the upcoming time? Read on.
Influencer marketing is definitely not a new story. It’s been more than a decade now that it is immensely dominating the world of digital marketing. While being extremely cost-effective, influencer marketing strategies have very soon ended up with a great exposure. The businesses are building an immense level of reputation and earning various links with the help of this innovative marketing concept. In fact, the influencer marketing agencies are coming up with new approaches of implementation with each passing day.
Moreover, like any other type of marketing, the trends of influencer marketing are ever changing. Like how the story was five years back is not the same now and it is going to further evolve in the future.
The anticipated influencer marketing challenges
With the continuous growth of social media, influencer marketing is definitely going to face a myriad of obstacles. A few of the most expected ones are as follows:
The demand for influencer marketing is continuously on the rise and eventually, the cost is going up. If you want to enter into the market of influencer marketing and establish yourself as an influencer then you need to give a lot of efforts while building a personal brand and earning the reputation for yourself.
You want to become one among such influencers who’ve already amassed a great following means that you’ll need to make it worth it- sometimes paid promotion could be the right tactic. In the future, this scenario is going to be even more prominent as people will have to spend huge bucks to be a worthy influencer.
In recent times, consumers have gradually started distrusting the huge brands when they realised that the corporations are working for only profit without having the user’s interests in the mind. So, for them, influencers are now no more than some mere conduits for big commercial names. So, it is going to be really tough for the influencers to get the trust of consumers back.
High level of competition
Social media is no doubt such a place now which is teeming with massive competition and threats. Many influencers who are already thriving and the people who have an urge to become influencers turn it into a complicated scenario for you to enter in this space as an influencer in your own right.
How can influencer marketing unfold in the future?
Of course, there are multiple ways in which the entire story of influencer marketing can change in the coming years. Let’s check out some of the most expected developments:
Exchanges will be ahead of favours
The chapter of influencer marketing is probably going to be a pretty much an impartial marketplace in the coming time. The brands are more likely to enter into a mutual collaboration with the influencer marketing agencies in terms of interchanging shares, posts, audience visibility while being more organic rather than asking for the favour of mentioning the brand’s name to the influencers
Networking will be preferred over individuals
Gone are the days when influencer marketing used to be the story of respective individuals. Now, markets are assumed to start focussing on the entire networks or industries. The future influencer marketers can get rid of the problem of being based on individual interactions by getting the insights of blog comments, forums etc.
Change in the concept of disclosure
Why has not native advertising sustained over the long term?
It’s because the publishers always negate to disclose which posts are the paid promotions. In such a scenario, influencer marketing strategies can move a bit ahead of this transparent problem in the future. All that they are expected to do is formally announce the sort of partnership or arrangement that is existing behind each and every content. The experts believe that this process might end up being quite a tedious one. Howbeit, the consumer trust will not be hampered at all.
Limited and sensible partnerships
Influencers might lean more towards self-preservation in the coming days. Rather than establishing a relationship with hundreds of marketers or products, influencers are expected to focus more on developing authentic professional relationships which really make some sense. For examples, the influencers are intended to concentrate more on such relationships which can be profitable for themselves as individuals and also seem to be appealing to their followers. Say, a move towards quality over quantity!
No doubt, the evolution of influencer marketing is not only dependent on the aforementioned factors. There’s much more that can happen. The time can only reveal that. Influencer marketing is certainly going to change on its own in either of the two ways, a more sophisticated one or become a mere peripheral strategy which won’t be completely accessible.
Let’s just wait and watch how it comes up to us in the future!
Aren’t you taking an advantage of the current extraordinary status of influencer marketing in the meantime?
Top Marketing Trends For 2019
When you reflect on marketing trends that have taken centre stage in 2018, what stands out?
Maybe it’s the proliferation of Instagram stories or influencer marketing? Or the fact that video content has become even shorter and simpler with the rise of GIFs.
The real question is how have you incorporated these trends in to your marketing strategy, and what should you focus on in 2019? Here are six up and coming trends that you don’t want to miss:
1. Say hello to the social CEO
Customers want ‘real’ brand stories and to know what drives them. Leaders who are successful on social media show their companies’ human side and give their brands’ credibility and personality. This builds loyalty and, in some cases, an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.
Customers who feel this connection may even go on to become brand ambassadors.
Tip: Share stories that demonstrate your leadership style as well as company culture.
2. Initiate conversations
While 2018 brought the chatbots, the trend for 2019 is really using these bots to gather information about consumers by engaging with them on a personal level and steering them towards a sale. Bots are being trained to be authentic and sound more like people than the robots they are.
For example Facebook Messenger becomes more and more useful for brands as the platform allows customisation of automated messages and the ability to initiate a conversation at the right time.
Tip: You can also integrate this with Facebook shopping and increase conversion rates by enabling the bot to sell products to a consumer through the Facebook platform.
3. Keep it local
Influencer marketing can be short lived or a little superficial. So try to identify and partner with local influencers that are happy to work on long-term campaigns. Also use multiple touch points including podcasts, YouTube and Snapchat as well as Instagram and Facebook.
Tip: Before you reach out to an influencer, follow them and learn a bit about the way they represent brands and engage with their fans to see if they’ll be a good fit.
4. Try Instagram ads
As Facebook ads continue to dominate our feeds, advertisers are looking for a new place to stand out and get noticed. Instagram ads are on the rise, according to the Merkle report that showed that while Facebook ad spend grew 40% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, Instagram ad spend jumped 177% in the same time period.
Tip: Do some A/B split testing with different styles of images and calls-to-action.
5. Personalise email communication
Make sure to use automation and personalisation to really make your customers feel that you are listening.
Using hyper-segmentation, you can target very specific parts of your market. This will ensure that they receive personalised emails based on what they have expressed interest in or actions they have taken with regards to your brand.
Tip: Use automated campaigns after a first purchase; to request a review on social platforms; or just thank customers for shopping and remind them to share their purchase online.
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
6. Post in real time
In an effort to bring offline marketing into the online world, Instagram TV or IGTV allows brands to create a place for consumers to watch live events or brand content in their own time.
In addition, IGTV replaces the need for YouTube in some cases as brands are able to upload 10 or more minutes of footage directly to Instagram for consumers to watch as ‘episodes’.
This will become more prevalent in the years to come as businesses include this in their strategy. IGTV videos are less formal and will typically cost less than a traditional TV advert to create.
Whatever trends come our way, the key is to remain agile and adapt to how customers engage with your brand. And more than ever before, it’s important for all marketing touch points to align and communicate the same message.
4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From
Whether you’re a CMO or just trying to build your own brand, these influencers can help you reach your goal.
Today, social media is a very crowded and competitive ecosystem – it can be extremely difficult for brands to break through and spread their message to a large number of potential new customers.
Marketing via social media has become a necessity. According to a post by DMA, 45 percent of surveyed marketers are looking to increase brand awareness through social media. The same post stated that spending via social media is expected to increase 18.5 percent in the next five years.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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