Thursday August 31, 2023
Let's not kid ourselves—times are challenging right now.
Consumers are tightening their belts, and businesses, including yours, are selling to a dwindling pool of prospects. But you don’t need to panic - this isn't a harbinger of doom.
In every economic downturn, some businesses don't just survive; they thrive.
How? It boils down to making some clever choices—choices that make you the buffalo among cows in a storm.
Stick with me, because in this article we're diving deep into the dangers and opportunities of marketing in a cost-of-living crisis.
The Pitfall of Cutting Overheads
One of the first reflexes of business owners in a crunch is to slash overheads. In principle, there's nothing wrong with that – in fact, it’s a smart thing to do.
But problems begin to surface when you cut back on the things that bring in new customers and revenue—such as marketing.
It’s easy to see the temptation though.
It can be hard to properly track the impact of our marketing – though I think it’s fair to say that, when times are good, we perhaps don’t prioritise tracking the results of our marketing.
Either way, it means that most business owners don’t know how well their marketing budget is working for them.
So they switch it off to find out.
It’s a risky strategy – after all, if you halt marketing and advertising while the number of potential customers is shrinking, there's only one logical outcome, and it's not a good one.
Be a Buffalo, Not a Cow
Did you know that when a big storm is coming, cows will turn and run away from it?
In contrast, buffalo will face the storm and head into it.
The buffalo have the right idea – by heading into the storm, though the wind and rain might sting a little harder, they get through to the sunshine much quicker.
The poor cows spend a lot longer being miserable in the cold wind and rain.
Most of your competitors are going to be cows. They will cut back or switch off their marketing, and when the storm DOES pass, they will be in a weak position to recover.
This opens up a massive opportunity for your business.
Simply maintaining your marketing activities already puts you ahead of the curve.
But what if you embrace your inner buffalo and actually increase them?
Now that's where things can start to get really exciting.
Choose Wisely: Not All Marketing Is Created Equal
A word of warning though: it's not enough to just keep the marketing wheels turning – you need to drive them in the right direction.
Pouring your funds into ineffective or outdated strategies is just as bad as not marketing at all. Probably worse.
The key is to invest in what works—especially when budgets are tight.
Even in times of economic downturn, there are cost-effective and highly targeted marketing options that can give you a great ROI (Return On Investment).
So instead of taking the gamble of switching off your marketing to see what impact that has – now is the time to track what you are doing properly.
There are lots of ways to do this: employ tracking numbers, bespoke landing pages, unique email addresses and/or offer codes in your marketing so you can see what is working.
Then make an informed decision about where to spend your precious marketing budget.
The Power of Targeted Marketing: Case in Point
If you’re looking for new places to test out, be smart and look for places that target your ideal customer.
Let's say you're in a niche industry catering to parents of young children.
I just picked that industry out of thin air. Honest 😊
Did you know that a staggering 88% of readers have acted upon an advert in the Toddle About magazine?
Not only that, but most of these readers also have disposable income, despite the economic climate.
Be smart about where you choose to spend your marketing budget, and you could double or triple your returns.
Your Business's Future Is in Your Hands
Ultimately, the trajectory your business takes in these trying times is dependent on you—the choices you make, the courage you have to adapt, and how you navigate changes in customer behaviour.
Whether you sink or swim in this storm, whether you merely survive or actually thrive, it's up to you.
Be smart. Be bold. And, above all, be a buffalo.
Till next time,
About The Author
Having built and managed a 50-strong team of door-to-door sales people in his early 20s, before joining the corporate world and building a multi-million pound recruitment team, Tim turned to entrepreneurship - founding Toddle About in 2010, which is now a thriving franchise business. He went on to launch Book That In in 2017 with his business partner, Alec Wadey, which is now one of the fastest growing online booking systems in the UK.
Tim is always learning and striving to improve and loves nothing more than sharing his hard-won knowledge and experience in sales, marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship with other business owners to help them on their own journeys.