Digital Operations Manager at Visualsoft, Lindsey Roberts, took to the keyboard to share why stepping away from short-termism is key to not simply surviving the retail effects of COVID, but prospering; improving relationships with your customers and increasing your ROI.
Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, and subsequently the lockdown in the UK (and beyond), many brands’ key focus was quick wins, favouring a quick conversion over long-term results. In research carried out by IPA, 755 of marketers and 73% of agencies said that ‘short-termism’ and the short term needs took precedence over longer term objectives.
When lockdown was enforced, we saw many market leaders panic, and short-termism really took hold. The two main reactions noted from many big brands were protecting profits by withdrawing budgets, or launching discounts to drive a spike in sales. Both reactions driven by short-termism, and both potentially damaging.
In the immediate short-term, cutting budgets may seem like a good idea to protect profits, but brands who implement this strategy are likely to come out of this weaker and less profitably. Potentially the most damaging, however, is they will lose a share of voice in the market, making it easier for competitors to gain an edge, especially if those competitors are now investing more. History tells us that the brands who invested more money on advertising during things like recessions, not only survived them, but came out of them significantly stronger.
Brands who didn’t cut throughout periods of recession tend to emerge significantly stronger than those who did (according toPhrasee). Phrasee also reported that B2C brands who increased advertising in a recession led to greater profits during the recession… and even greater ones once the recovery hit.
Many brands who have been deploying this tactic have been shouting about discounts via email and social media, and of course, if your brand isn’t known for discounting, it goes without saying that you’ll see a spike in sales. However, these tactics lead to fatigue amongst customers. Messages get lost in the void, seem irrelevant; even though you’re doing more, you may lose share of voice in the market - just as you would if you reduced advertising budgets.
According to Google, share of voice determines share of the market, so getting your brand out there is more important than ever if you want to thrive and not just survive the pandemic. Instead of cutting back on budgets, now is the time to invest to plan for when the lockdown is over. Instead of discounts and mass messages pushing the sale, it’s critical to review your messaging - what you say matters, and it matters now more than ever.
If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness, it’s now or never. If your competitors are reducing spend on marketing, this is the perfect opportunity to establish your voice in the market, with relative ease. Nurturing customer relationships throughout this period is vital for longevity and will serve your brand far more than purely increasing the volume of interactions.
After lockdown, don’t be tempted to fall back into old habits of trying to get quick wins. It’s a false economy - it’s important to remain focused on your long term strategy, which should be centred around customer engagement and growth. Right now, we don’t know what the state of play will be for Q4, our biggest shopping period, where COVID is concerned, but only by building up your share of voice and creating meaningful connections with your customers now, will you be setting yourself up to succeed then.
Carefully considering your message and stepping away from short-termism will be the key to not simply getting through COVID, but prospering; improving relationships with your customers and increasing your ROI.
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