Resist the Reptilian Brain
Dana Pulis Owner and Principal
Business Leaders and marketers take note: Resist the Reptilian Brain – The Best Response in Uncertain Times is Not the Natural One
Fear and uncertainty bring out the worst in human nature. For marketers, they can be lethal. When we’re afraid of what might happen, we withdraw, hold back, and recoil. This is definitely true when it comes to dire economic forecasts as we’ve been hearing lately. Yet it’s during challenging economic times that marketers have an opportunity to make their biggest gains.
Research bears this out. According to Peter Steidl’s book, “Survive, Exploit, Disrupt: Action Guidelines for Marketing in a Recession”, companies that bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. To that point, companies that increased spending during a recession actually saw a 4.3% increase in profits compared to those that cut spending (0.8% increase).
Perhaps the most compelling case for maintaining marketing investment during downturns comes from Bain and Co. which found that companies usually make more dramatic and sustainable gains and losses during a downturn than during stable periods.
So, what does that mean for marketers who’ve worked so hard to gain market share and customer loyalty? Here are five ways to turn economic uncertainty to your advantage.
Maintain Brand Visibility and Awareness: Building and maintaining a strong brand is important under all economic conditions, and during the recession, it takes on special importance, especially if your competitors are cutting back. Keeping your advertising, public relations, digital presence, and other messaging channels active will help you stay ahead vis a vis your competitors.
Keep Your Eyes on Existing Customers and Don’t Let them Get Away: Experienced marketers will tell you, and research bears out, that the cost of acquiring new customers is far greater than the cost of retaining existing ones. By continuing to engage with existing customers during a recession you will earn and strengthen customer loyalty. Newsletters, loyalty programs, and extra-care customer service are among the many ways you will differentiate yourself from competitors and keep your valued customers.
Re-evaluate Your Budget Allocation: Marketing dollars are precious under all economic conditions. In a recessionary period, it’s critical to maintain your marketing investment but it’s also a time to consider reallocating and redirecting. For example, online advertising, social media marketing, and SEO can help your dollars go farther.
Laser Focus your Marketing: While every customer is valuable, some are more valuable than others. If you have a segment of your customer base that tends to spend more than others, or that tends to buy the more profitable items, consider refocusing to reach that audience more effectively. Remember, even in challenging economic times, some segments of the market will continue to spend. By targeting these high-value customers, you can maximize your return on investment.
Be Innovative and Nimble: Economic conditions are cyclical, and marketing, like all business functions, has to be able to respond and adjust accordingly. Being open to new marketing ideas and strategies and being willing to pivot quickly to capitalize on opportunities, is the advantage maker. This may involve new marketing channels, implementing new customer opportunities, developing new products or services, or finding other ways to stand out from competitors. After all, tough economic times call for creative marketing solutions.
Fear is a strong motivator. When we are afraid, we react from the part of our brain that is designed to protect us. These are great behaviors if we’re in danger but not necessarily the best response for business leaders and marketers. To the contrary – when economic times are uncertain it’s the best chance to gain ground. Don’t let the market slow you down, be at the forefront and reap the rewards of proactive courageousness. Resist the reptilian brain!
Owner and Principal
Since launching Kinetic in 2007 from her heart and the living room of her Billings home, Dana Pulis has focused on moving businesses forward through creative marketing communications. Her intense focus has produced amazing results for a long list of local, regional and national clients. That focus has dramatically grown Kinetic from a local firm to a national agency that has won awards against some of the largest ad agencies in the country.
Dana is a nationally-known marketing expert. She’s an award-winning writer, accomplished public speaker and respected business leader. She recruits top pros – account directors and project managers looking for the next challenge, and designers and writers looking to push their creative boundaries.Read more about Dana