Alarm bells are ringing as inflation hikes sweep the globe. There are many variables that have caused this, but the purpose of this article to unpack what this could mean for marketing teams and businesses as a whole. Here’s a look at how to navigate campaign budget cuts and price-conscious consumers.
Ah, marketing. An important part of any business, yet often the first to get put on the butcher’s block when times get tough. While leading us out of pandemic woes was marked by excitement, marketing teams are quickly having to adjust their tone and campaigns as the reality of rising inflation sets in. Businesses will inevitably need to weigh up their options and develop a strategy that is focused on either short-term reprises or long-term payoffs.
While businesses may well need to draw back on costs, the marketing department’s budget needn’t be slashed. Take content marketing, a great long-term strategy, for example. When you cut down on creating content, your consumers lose out on value and you could lose your spot in the rankings of search engines. If you’re strapped for cash for this type of content, don’t worry - there are many ways to create content on a shoestring budget.
When weighing up the options, it’s also helpful to consider which business expenses will cost you more in the long run. Without looking at precise figures, one needs to evaluate the cost of not engaging in marketing activities. This can be a more costly trade-off in the long run. For example, taking the opportunity to capitalise on low competition in the market and securing your spot vs. Saving costs from not investing in campaigns - which is greater? It’s also not solely down the numbers, as much about branding lies in perceived value.
Based on this tricky situation, your team will need to do an internal investigation to determine what makes the most sense. Whether you scale back or keep it rolling at full steam, there are changes that marketing teams the world over will need to make.
Tips for Marketers on How to Navigate Rising Inflation Rates
Without further ado, let’s delve into the ways that marketing teams can overcome the challenges of a market facing rising inflation, both internally and externally.
- If you need to increase the prices of your products and/or services, communicate their value effectively through marketing messages. Consumers understand that costs will be increased across the board, but they need to justify those expenses on their end. One way to achieve this is by being transparent about the production process and how the business has done its best to shield the consumer from bearing the brunt of the costs - position yourself as being ‘in it’ with consumers.
- Reconsider the metrics you’re placing the most value on. Benchmarks set for your performance reports will likely need to be adjusted, as these are difficult times with new goals and revised budgets to work with.
- Showcase the bigger picture. Marketing teams need to be able to communicate how their brand fits in the bigger picture. This will help consumers to engage with it and envision it as part of their lifestyle, rather than a momentary (and possibly unnecessary) want or need.
- Seek opportunities. During difficult times, there is a wide window of opportunity. It is important for teams to engage in creative solutions, from resources to campaign management. This will help you find ways to stand out from competitors and fill in the gaps created by financial constraints.
- Get aligned with the goals and plans of the rest of the company. The marketing team needs to support the overall direction of the company and work towards achieving the vision and mission through its campaigns and messaging. This will ensure that people are not working in silos and create a stronger company culture with a unified task.
- Don’t let branding fall short. Communicate your story, which will be one of change and adaptation. This will build perceptions of value, deepen understanding and consumer relationships, and help your brand to remain memorable - something that people want to connect with.
- Keep an eye on the macro factors. It is important to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends, consumer shifts, and competitor activity. This will help your brand to remain relevant and ready to take on new challenges. The market research is crucial, as you’ll need to update consumer insights and buyer personas in terms of how rising inflation affects them in every possible sense (mentally, behaviorally, demographically, etc).
- Find new ways to create value. When budgets are limited, the offer of value becomes even more alluring. Brands will do well to accommodate these needs by including value-added offers, from loyalty rewards to leeways in usual processes.
- Ultimately, brands need to adapt their messaging to show empathy and cater to the needs of consumers facing financial struggles, while they themselves are experiencing much of the same. Don’t forget about the value of conscious consumerism, sustainability, and ethical business practices while adapting - there is no quick fix and any changes need to be sustainable, without harming the brand in the process.
High inflation rates are here and countries around the world will likely feel the pinch for the next couple of years. By preparing adequately and adjusting your marketing, you can grab onto the opportunities that arise from periods of difficulty and make your brand one to remember, in good times and in bad.