As a (defacto) Aussie that works almost solely with entrepreneurs, I’ve been pretty nervous about the whispers I’ve been hearing in the proverbial corridors of the virtual offices I’m privy to… People are talking about economic downturn. Many Fintechs (like Klarna) are laying people off. In the startup space (that I love so much), Y Combinator has just put out a “warning” about how difficult it will be to raise funding in these market conditions. Market conditions which, according to the AFR, contributed to the lowest consumer confidence Australia has seen in thirty years (and that was before interest hikes, mate).
With all this in the back of my mind, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a panel discussion featuring the likes of Melissa Hopkins, VP and CMO, Optus, Katie Rigg-Smith, CEO of Mindshare Australasia, Jana Bowden, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour and Al Crawford, Founder, Shapeshifter Consulting.
The topic? Marketing in a cost-of-living crisis…
This may (or may not) surprise you, but my number one takeaway from the discussion on how corporates can ride the wave over the coming turbulent period was… SPEND MORE. In times of crisis, SPEND MORE on understanding your buyers. SPEND MORE on supporting them and offering them value. SPEND MORE on doing good and contributing to the issues they care about (enter climate change and sustainability).
The idea of empathy in the marketing, customer experience and even product development process is not new. But it’s more important than ever. You need to understand that not all target personas are being impacted equally. And that there are different ways in which you can attract, serve and retain customers. To do this effectively, you will inevitably need to: SPEND MORE.
As a corporate buyer, you need to think twice about HOW you’re spending. Are you investing in the world’s best creative, digital and marketing agencies that will genuinely walk a path with you because they are invested and committed to delivering immense value? Or are you defaulting to the incumbent agencies that charge an arm and a leg and with whom working is often pretty inefficient? Right now, there’s an opportunity for you to rethink the way in which you approach things - so that you’re best positioned to respond to the dynamic market and ever-changing needs of your customer at a time that may be quite trialing for both them AND you.
So the real question to ask yourself is: How do you SPEND MORE and get more - value, engagement, loyalty, growth?
PS: One thing that I found particularly reassuring during the panel discussion was the consensus that (1) due to the social contagion effect, it is quite likely that people will experience more anxiety than they will be impacted in reality (ie. it will likely sound worse than it’ll be).