Marketing in a crisis
In challenging economic conditions a strong brand can be the difference between mere survival and growth. Research shows that in tough time's customers lose much of their appetite for new products but they will buy if they trust your brand. The challenge of building brand value and effectively stimulating demand in a difficult economy lies with the sales and marketing teams.

The key to achieving this outcome is a strong brand and customer focus and it is up to the sales and marketing teams to keep the business focused.There are three ways in which sales and marketing executives can do this:

1. Create a clear link between marketing and the bottom line

Your company's most valuable is asset is "the brand". Particularly during times of economic uncertainty it is critical that your company's marketing investment is sustained. Why? The concept of withdrawing investment in marketing is similar to withdrawing investment in product ingredients or maintenance of the factory or plant. Companies risk damage to the brand and lost market share.

To avoid marketing budget cuts marketing executives need to work closely with the company's financial decision makers which means changing marketing speak to financial talk.  Begin communicating with the business in the language of finance and with a clear commitment to accountability. This involves having comprehensive performance metrics and sound ROI platforms for all marketing activities.  Brand asset value, return on marketing investment, profit sensitivity and price elasticity should become prevalent terms in marketing departments.

2. Invest in the brand to protect market share

A brand needs to be nurtured even in tough economic times as it has a direct impact on customer decisions.  This is evidenced in everyday purchase behaviour. Regardless of price, business customers will pay a premium for quality brands despite access to lower-priced options.

Businesses must ensure their focus on the brand is unwavering, if not stronger than ever before. A strong brand aids the sales process and ensures the efforts of your sales team are maximised. When reaching out to those targets it is more likely that they will respond to your offer if they recognise your product or service offering from the out-set.

The challenge is to find a way to convert your brand into a tangible business asset.  In addition, it will demonstrate your brand's success in response to marketing stewardship.

3. Keep focused on satisfying customer needs

Customer needs tend to change during times of economic change and the focus of the sales and marketing team is to find out what they are. Now is the time to find out more about:

  • what the customer wants
  • why they want it
  • what they like and don't like about competing products. 

Companies that want to excel in customer loyalty must understand their customers' needs first then focus on value proposition and relationship-building efforts. 

According to research by Harvard Business Review in collaboration with Bain & Company, US companies lose nearly 50% of their customers every five years. The study shows that with just a 5% increase in customer retention your business can increase profits by nearly 100%.

Businesses that go the extra mile and produce top-of-mind presence with their customers will be successful in delivering profitable sales.


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