hile here in Australia we have had enjoyed an economic rebound unlike anything anyone could have predicted at the start of the pandemic, until we hit that golden 80% vaccination target, we are going to continue to face a high degree of uncertainty. For many Australian businesses, it’s been a roller coaster 18 months with some facing all-time lows, some all-time highs, and others both in a short period of time. Our collective resiliency is understandably wearing thin.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The predictions last year of the future of our economy were beyond bleak - yet overall, we have experienced surprisingly strong growth. Unemployment is down, salaries are rising, real estate is booming, domestic travel is pumping, and many industries are struggling to find talent to fill demand. All of this is because of, not despite, the pandemic.
But next year, the flurry will begin to ease, and things will likely start to revert to the way they were (if not next year, then the year after). Industries that have experienced exponential growth directly resulting from the pandemic will decline and those that waned will get an injection of cash from consumers who have been saving up (or who shift their spending back to pre-pandemic habits).
When it comes to marketing during economic uncertainty, it’s important to keep the above context in mind and to ensure you focus on both short-term and long-term elements of your strategy and that you don’t put your business at a disadvantage by focusing too much on the now (or by pausing your marketing efforts to increase cash flow). Remember that marketing is an investment – when you invest in marketing you invest in your business and its success and longevity.
Events might be cancelled, and there might be fewer eyes on direct advertising platforms like billboards and buses, but your customers and prospects haven’t disappeared, they are just spending more time at home – and on their mobile phones. By shifting more of your promotions budget towards digital marketing, you can still generate the revenue required to carry your business through.
To maximise your return on your digital marketing investment, make sure that you have adequately addressed each stage of your customer journey and have optimised each of the online destinations you will be using(e.g., your website). By mapping your customer journey, you will ensure that you are spending on the right platforms, using the right funnels, and providing the right content to your target audience.
To set your business up for success in the long term you need to start investing in your brand. Has all of your target audience heard of your business, and do they know what it does well? If the answer is “no”, then you need to invest in your brand. If the answer is “yes” and you have competitors or potential competitors, then you too need to invest in your brand.
Activities designed to educate your audience on who your business is, what it does, and why your audience needs it requires an ongoing effort (and investment) that doesn’t always return an immediate or directly attributable return. It does however directly influence the long term growth, success and competitiveness of a business.
Overnight successes take 10+ years. A major contributor to that success lies in practising strategic, realistic, and sustainable marketing efforts, which requires investment. The playing field may have changed temporarily but the game remains the same.