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In A ‘Bulls vs. Bears’ World, Be The Lion
A negatively trending ‘bear market’ gets its name because –like the animal it was named after – it attacks by striking downward.
Conversely, a more positive ‘bull market’ charges with horns pointing upward.
Yet, whether we are facing a bear-ish or bull-ish economy, here’s one thing all businesses should remember:
These terms might reflect the economic climate, but they don’t have to define our success.
Uncertainties and rocky roads might send markets or other companies into a reactive or fearful state – or perhaps even a tailspin. But, for bold leaders – or lions, if you will – even a downturn in the economy represents opportunities for future growth.
In today’s increasingly competitive, digital-first landscape, businesses should not retreat in the face of challenge or adversity.
Instead, they should be aggressive and continue looking for new opportunities to improve their customers’ experience (CX).
After all, what better time to lay claim to new clients and territories, and deepen customer relationships, than when competitors are scrambling from the battlefield?
The value of marketing during economic downturns is clear:
Most brands are already under-spending on marketing, depressing their ROIs by a median of 50%. This means any further cutting of marketing expenses could only serve to reduce ROI further, at a time when brands need to maximize profits most.
Don’t pump the breaks. Let’s take a look at digital growth tenants for resilient businesses in 2023.
'Hunt During The Storm' With An Omni Channel Marketing Strategy
Lions hunt during storms. Reason being, the noise and wind create an opportunity to hunt for prey, who are too distracted and afraid to see the lions coming.
Similarly, during an economic downturn, it’s the businesses continuing to ‘hunt’ for new leads, clients, and consumers by way of omnichannel marketing who are set up for success in the long term.
We saw this exact scenario play out as recently as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. These were ‘uncertain times,’ which left many companies immobilized by fear and hitting eject on all marketing efforts – a mistake that cost brands big time.
The businesses who continued marketing, even in a strategically reduced capacity, picked up the ball that so many of their contemporaries dropped – and found themselves in a much more competitive position. Through various channel strategies, they introduced their businesses to new people, engaged their existing audience, motivated purchases, and nurtured loyalty.
When you’re feeling uncertain, remember the continued value of omni channel marketing:
For every $1 invested in email marketing, brands see $36 returned - higher than any other channel.
For every $1 spent on Google Ads, brands see $2 returned.
For every $1 invested in social media marketing, brands see $2.80 returned.
Those numbers may ebb and flow with evolving economic realities, but one thing is certain - leaders who don’t play at all, will see zero value.
When the going gets rough for companies, marketing strategies might seem like an ‘easy cut’ from a company’s budget. That said, bold leaders differentiate themselves and advance using multi-channel marketing to attract new customers, insights, and sales in any economic climate.
Avoid Scaring Your ‘Prey’ By Building Stronger Digital Customer Experiences
When lions hunt, they stay hidden in the grass, allowing prey to walk close to them. At the right opportunity, they begin to make stealthy, slow movements to prevent scaring away their target.
Tragically, companies scare away potential clients and customers all the time. They accomplish this by deprioritizing – and in some cases, completely disregarding – digital customer experience (CX).
Think about a time when you visited an e-commerce website or app that was difficult to navigate, hid useful information like easter eggs, featured broken forms or ‘buy now’ buttons, or made it next to impossible to access customer service. How long did you ‘stick it out’ before you left that website in lieu of a competitor?
Should the market shift in ways that increase the scarcity of potential customers, a company’s survival depends on their ability to generate customer experiences that ensure customer retention, customer acquisition, brand recognition, and loyalty. It all comes down to customer experience.
To prevent turning off customers or scaring away sales leads, here are some tips to consider:
Improve the user experience (UX) of your website – There’s never a bad time to audit your website to identify parts that are confusing, clunky, multi-step, or vague. Your goal should always be to reduce friction, while strengthening the organization, messaging, and visual cues to improve clarity.
Remember the fundamentals - Website speed, security, and trustworthiness put customers at ease and reduce pain points.
Create stickiness with portals – Give sales reps and retailers access to intuitive dashboards, tools, transparency, and helpful information to manage their business.
Resolve customer support issues with efficiency – Give customers a sense of ownership over their shopping experience by providing transparency regarding customer service requests, like returns, refunds, and other FAQs. Additionally, use newer innovations like chatbots and improved website search, so customers may help themselves as needed.
Your ‘Pride’ Is Your Greatest Strength - Internal Employees, Agency Partnerships, & Martech Platforms
Adult male lions spend up to 21 hours each day resting and sleeping. They achieve this luxury in the natural world because their pride is structured to do much of the work for them.
In the business world, your personnel, partnerships, and platforms optimize your business for success.
What are you doing to optimize your ‘pride’ and build better focus, productivity, and opportunities for growth?
Is your team wasting time on manual efforts, when automation could speed productivity?
Do you have redundant tools and systems creating painful workarounds and zero transparency into holistic business health?
Did you invest heavily in a large-scale tool, like Salesforce, but you’re only using20% of its features?
If you’re nodding in agreement to any of these, you’re not alone – it’s incredibly common for the MarTech stack to grow and become unwieldy over time, creating inefficiency and a lack of transparency across your organization.
Given the potential for challenging marketing conditions, now is a great time for business leaders to evaluate their partners, tools, and MarTech platforms, and determine which ones are most effective at optimizing workflows, shrinking costs, and removing redundancies.
As you optimize the structure of your pride, or organization, here’s two questions to consider:
Are you getting the maximum value out of the tools you invested in? Many enterprise technology projects are not fully maximized – they are implemented to solve a single, siloed problem or support one team, but there are a ton of additional opportunities to leverage them across your organization that never get implemented. You’ve taken on the cost – but you’re not getting the full value.
For example, we see this frequently with Salesforce. Whether it’s the CRM, dashboards, digital experience portals, and other use cases (Salesforce has them all), it can be difficult to use. With the right Salesforce partner to audit your instance and goals, you can customize your salesforce to work how you work best, leverage it across your organization, and expedite team tasks.
When Whereoware has helped businesses customize their Salesforce, we’ve seen productivity and adoption skyrocket, and new hire training decrease by 80%.
Have you identified ‘invisible’ and unnecessary costs? Many companies have processes and tools that hamper productivity. This can include having multiple systems to complete essential tasks, workarounds that are needlessly complex, or manual processes that could be automated.
Ignoring these friction points within your organization’s internal systems is not only costly, but can trigger other issues including extensive training, increased personnel, diminished productivity, critical errors, and churn.
As you step into the future, identify the right partnerships to offer objective recommendations and strategies to achieve your goals. Then, use those partnerships to empower your organization by automating repetitive tasks, freeing up resources, and making sure your teams are more efficient and accurate.
A digital experience agency, like Whereoware, will holistically audit the full picture of your strategic initiatives, platforms, and processes, offering objective guidance on gaps, redundancies, and overlooked opportunities.
Acting as an extension of your team to increase productivity, performance results, and profitability, we’ll determine a “keep list” and outline future investments needed to make your systems work better, so that you and your teams don’t work harder in the future.
If You Can’t Know The Future, Know Yourself
There is no indicator or crystal ball that can tell us what the future will be like with absolute certainty.
Do not allow less than ideal circumstances to prevent your company or organization from being a less than ideal version of itself.
Rather than dwell on worries, identify strategies that will ensure you will achieve your goals regardless of the condition of the competitive sales landscape.
Whether it’s bulls charging with horns upward, or bears tearing each other down – remember to be the lion. Do not mimic the chaos around you, and instead, choose to be a leader of your industry.
Continue to seek out opportunities in the face of adversity, optimize your customer experience, and invest in and nurture your team --including both partners and platforms – to protect your business from shrinking profits and customer churn.