I feel like I am experiencing déjà vu, or is it here we go again.
As soon as Russia invaded Ukraine I was predicting a recession. With the global markets not having had the time to recover from the pandemic, markets were fragile at best and to be hit by another external disaster meant many businesses were jumping from one crisis to the next. The sad reality of any recession is that some businesses will fail and this is more likely with the cost of living increasing at the rate it currently is.
Anyone that thought Putin wouldn’t use gas and food supplies to try and leverage EU countries and influence global countries, was living in dream land, it is arguably his most powerful weapon. Governments are now working out how to counteract Russia’s controls on energy and in the long term this will only benefit all other countries, further restricting Russia’s ability to bounce back from the war. However, this does not provide an immediate answer for businesses, so is there a quick fix?
The answer for some aspects of a business is probably not. When I began discussing the impact of the war with clients, we looked at how to protect businesses as best we could. Whilst we are not able to control the cost of energy and other living costs, what we can do is control the exposure of the business and brand to its prospective customers and ensure we generate the maximum amount of new revenue, not just in the short term but most importantly in the long term.
In all the previous recessions that I have worked through, too many proving my age, there has been a split of businesses, those who cut marketing and training to reduce costs and those who continued to invest in both marketing and training to ensure they maintain the most important two aspects of any business. I will leave it up to you to decide which side survived better?
The first of these is your staff, in a market that is already very competitive with job opportunities already extremely high, it is essential to keep your staff. The second is your new business pipeline and keeping this topped up, without new business you will not survive, a harsh fact.
The good news is with most businesses you do not need to invest significant additional budgets but more often than not, it is a case of reviewing your existing activity and making sure you are as efficient as possible in both areas. In my experience most marketing departments can increase their returns by at least 20% with minor adjustments to both the set up and messaging in any campaigns.
To achieve these results, you need to do two things;
- Be honest and accept that there is always room for improvement
- Be objective, look at all your marketing as if you are looking in from the outside.
If you have an experienced marketing team in place, you should be able to achieve this as part of your regular reviews. However, if you have a smaller marketing team or feel you need an objective opinion, it may be worth you finding an external marketing resource in to help with the review and planning.
The most important point for any business is not to put off this work, you need to do it now to ensure you are in the best position to ride out any recession, however long it lasts. If you want to know what I involved in reviewing your marketing please get in touch.