As the global economy is facing an unexpected crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing policymakers around the world are exploring solutions to keep businesses afloat.
Whenever there is a decline in the economy, marketers usually conclude to cut back the marketing efforts to save revenue. Although it seems counterintuitive, cost-cutting is not a sustainable growth plan especially in periods of economic malaise.
Marketing opportunities exist when competitors too have cut back on their marketing efforts. This is the time when instead of staying low, businesses can make a greater impact in a less cluttered market. They can create brand visibility by investing in the right channels and tools.
Companies that know how to market right during an economic crisis emerge as stronger brand post-recession. On the other hand, arbitrarily slashing marketing costs could secure profits but only in the short-term and leaves a brand struggling when the tides go out.
Visionary marketing leaders know how to grow their business through downturns. They know that during lean times, businesses could increase market share if plans are revamped accordingly.
Reasons Why Smart Marketers Don’t Stop During Economic Setbacks
- They know that the brand will get more visibility because many companies would be pausing their marketing efforts.
- As a result of the above, the market share of the business will grow.
- By employing this strategy to remain visible in the market, the brand would be perceived stable by people, which would strengthen Brand Credibility in the long term
- Hence, generating profits both in a low economy and post-recession.
But, how to go about marketing during such times?
Well, first things first, by not treating marketing as an expense but an investment.
Brands can generate revenue and survive any economic decline only if they know how to re-focus marketing investments to the areas of greatest ROI and growth.
We have discussed the possible advantages of continuing marketing during the current global economic crisis. But let’s try to zero down the major points that a perfect marketing strategy should have during these times-
#1 Should be Cost-Effective
Of all times, marketing should be realistic and cost-effective at these times. It is important to make the best use of minimum marketing budgets to drive maximum results and conversions. The marketing tools should, therefore, be selected on the basis of multi-channel functionality.
#2 Should Build Brand Trust
When the economy is slow, consumers have firm priorities and stricter budgets. They will go for products and brands that have a trustworthy and dependable image in the market. Hence, businesses should focus on strengthening brand trust by highlighting customer satisfaction stories in their marketing campaigns.
#3 Should Focus On Digital Marketing
Online marketing is economical than offline and is a more impactful marketing channel that businesses should use to lead promotions. By creating visual and social ads, marketers can bring visibility to their brand at lower costs, especially when the competitors are laying low.
Market studies have proved that Digital advertising continues to bring the same exposure regardless of social or economic crisis. It is crucial to integrate the digital channels during this time as with the world taking a pause from offline activities, your target audiences must have shifted camps to online and social media channels.
Another reason to put the effort into online marketing during economic crises is when consumers see a strong online presence of a brand during recessions, they take it as a sign of stability. Trust us, everyone wants to get aboard on a ship that will not sink or disturbed by turbulence.
#4 Should Retain Existing Consumers
With pursuing prospects and focusing on expanding brand reach, businesses should concentrate more on existing consumers during economically hard times. In a slow market, it is easier to generate more value from current consumers than following up with new ones. As consumers are not likely to switch to new brands during such times businesses should put their energy in engaging them as much as possible.
By now you must be thinking is there a single marketing strategy that could accomplish all the above?
Yes, there is!
It is known as User-Generated Content (UGC) Marketing.
User-generated content marketing is an all-encompassing marketing strategy that harnesses the power of reviews, pictures, and videos shared by a brand’s consumers in favor of its products and services. These product opinions by brand users are generally shared over social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The potential of UGC in drawing profits during these unprecedented times is established by the following facts-
- UGC Is The Most Cost-Effective Tool During Recession
As UGC marketing employs the content created by people in product promotions, it takes a lot of pressure off the content management team. By saving the time and resources on content management, brands can allocate them to different marketing divisions such as user- communication which is equally important at these times.
Content marketers do not have to design different content strategies for different digital and social media channels. They also do not have to worry about creating unique content to stand apart from the competitors as personalized brand reviews and opinions of consumers cannot be used by anyone else.
Also, user-generated content can be embedded over the websites and included in emails as a social media feed. The UGC social media feed could be used at different marketing touchpoints which is economical as through a single tool a brand is covering all the marketing channels where its target audience exists.
UGC marketing calls for a one-time investment and caters to all channels like websites, emails and even digital displays at venues. It also saves content investment and still delivers unique and engaging content thereby increasing conversion chances. Therefore, User-Generated Content Marketing is the most cost-effective approach mostly in the time of economical crisis.
- UGC Is A Visible Example of Your Users’ Trust In You
During the economic crunch, consumers get their guards up against brand advertisements. They are reserved when it comes to making purchasing decisions and are through with thousand versions of “the best products” in the market! People want to hear about a product from people like them. They are searching for authentic reviews before even thinking of buying something online!
With UGC, businesses can overcome these trust challenges of their target audiences. By including pictures of users’ brand experiences, businesses can help consumers choose them over others. People prefer UGC more as it is not sales-driven. It is proof of consumer satisfaction with the brand and hence, drive conversions organically.
- Using UGC Will Retain Current Consumers Better
Just like any other relationship, consumers too need acknowledgment from their favorite brands. In a slow economy, your customers will not make a switch if you communicate with them and keep them engaged.
User-generated content invokes brand loyalty in existing consumers and creates a community. When a consumer sees his/her content being used by a brand in a marketing campaign he/she witnesses the importance of his/her voice in a brand’s marketing efforts. \
This validation makes consumers want to stick around during hard times and also participate fiercely in creating more reviews online and on social media channels. Result- more UGC, brand value and brand reach.
- UGC Supports Online & E-Commerce Businesses
Social distancing and lockdowns have led to a steep downfall in user spending at offline stores and the situation is not going to improve any time soon.
Customer engagement and conversions are two major pain points of any online business. The visual display of User-generated photos and videos grabs visitors’ eyes resolving the engagement issues and the authenticity of these picturesque opinions and reviews results in successful conversions.
By including UGC on different sections on the websites such as product pages, an online brand could not only sustain this economic decline but come out even stronger at the end of it.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. As a business, if you think that marketing is an investment that should be ticked off during an economic crisis, you are headed towards a major crash! These are the time to gear up and play the field as your business peers might have pulled back from the marketing game.
But, it is also true that a smart marketer knows exactly when to change the tracks. We have shared the best-kept marketing secrets during a static economy and also an omnipotent marketing approach to overcome cost and trust challenges. Invest in the right UGC tool and make them wonder how your business is still thriving during tough times!