Working with a tight marketing budget is not a good strategy in the long run. Those who see marketing primarily as a cost item that can be cut, especially in a crisis, are not acting sustainably and will have to accept a weaker market position after the recession. Marketing spending, especially in a recession, is an investment, not a cost to be cut.
Strong brands radiate confidence even in times of crisis – but they must be honest and authentic about it. This also includes having and maintaining a consistent value and thus price position so as not to dilute the brand value. Brands should also clearly define and explain the significance and meaning of their offer, i.e. have a "purpose". This should not be told in too general a manner but rather in a way that is specific to the target group. "Brand activism" makes for a smart approach, where brands can think in terms of orienting communities, engage in active dialogue and offer their customers solutions and not just a product without context. Because in uncertain times, providing concrete orientation means conveying a sense of security.
It is essential for brands to observe how customers behave during a crisis. What do customers want? How do they react to engagement offers? Understanding customers in real-time is a prerequisite for using marketing budgets effectively in a crisis. In digital marketing, everything can be observed and controlled on a very small scale. This allows brands to become more sophisticated in engaging customers and making the right offer at the right time.
When it comes to customer loyalty and building brand allegiance, it is essential to offer products and services that embody innovation. Being reluctant to invest can mean coming out of the crisis with a significantly weakened market position. So instead, brands should actively invest in loyalty. This can be done by expanding the communication space, actively developing your portfolio or working with ecosystem partners.
Brands should also (re)discover their joy of experimentation and not shy away from new things. This is especially true in Germany, where the fear of not being perfect is very pronounced. Experimental projects don't necessarily require long-running, multi-million budgets, either. Learning can also be achieved through quick little experiments. It is important not to close ourselves off to new possibilities like the Metaverse or TikTok but to gain experience in using them now.
Author: Wolf Ingomar Faecks, Serviceplan Group Board Member and Plan.Net CEO