Let’s check on the Marketing team and make sure they have all the resources they need to get us through these iffy times” … said no one ever. 

As economic uncertainty hovers in the air, we know that marketing can often be viewed as a place to cut costs. 

While these cuts may be unavoidable, some tried-and-true research from the Harvard Business Review shows that companies who “take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings” will be better positioned to succeed both during and after these periods.

At Tiny Bully, we’ve weathered our share of storms and we know a thing or two about running lean. 

Here are some tips to not only squeeze the most efficiency out of your marketing dollars but to take advantage of the opportunities that arise from these times and come out ahead.

Don’t Go Quiet

If we had a dollar for every “We’re in this together” email we received during the COVID pandemic we’d probably be on a tropical island somewhere and not writing this blog. 

That being said, brands who find ways to maintain conversations with customers and prospects will keep themselves top-of-mind and poised to bounce back – if done with care. 

Remember, putting the hard sell into every communication will not always deliver the intended results, especially when consumers and businesses are feeling crunched.  Instead, consider the effects the economic environment is having on your target audience, and think of unique ways you can provide value:

  • A “timeline cleanse” on social can give viewers a much-needed break from serious matters and build a positive association with your brand.
  • Tips from the experts can be a welcome resource, especially when it comes to the pocketbook – for example, the insurance company that sends a handy guide to winterizing your home.
  • Navigating the news and keeping up with trends is honestly a full-time job – a curated roundup of relevant links can help establish your role as a trusted source of information.

Of course, feel free to weave your own branding and value proposition into the content in a non-obtrusive manner! 

If you don’t already have one (or if you’re due for an upgrade), a CRM system can bring worlds of efficiency and capabilities to your marketing and new business efforts – helping to develop, publish, and analyze content across channels in an organized manner. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the breadth of options or want to get the most out of all the bells and whistles, a friendly Tiny Bully is just an email away! 

Let the Machines Do It

At least until they become fully sentient, our friends the machines are ready, willing, and able to assist with a wide variety of tasks. 

Marketing automation is a term for “technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically.”  Basically… set-it-and-forget-it. 

Think of the emails you receive when you put something in your cart but fail to check out (surely because you became distracted by that trending meme, and not because you decided you didn’t want that product).  

At Tiny Bully, we often implement this type of “abandoned cart” automation for our clients and routinely see significant revenue increases as a result.  Other marketing automation could include:

  • Emails or texts sent to customers on their birthday with a personalized message and a promo code.
  • A “New Customer Welcome Flow” that — over a handful of emails — thanks customers for their purchase, gives them more information about the brand, asks for a review, and incentivizes a follow-up purchase.
  • Audience segmentation that delivers customized messaging tailored around each customer’s specific purchase or browsing history.

Any discussion of automation would be remiss without a mention of ChatGPT and other conversational AI services.  You may have seen a headline or two about them. 

The short explanation is that these tools range from free to paid subscriptions and have the ability to perform many operations that can make life easier for marketers.  For instance, a query about a good title for this blog post resulted in: “Thriving in Turbulent Times: Strategies for Marketing Efficiency in an Economic Downturn”.  What do you think? 

Check out a few more helpful prompts to get those AI-generated responses flowing!

Increase Your Extra Share of Voice (eSOV)

Most of us are familiar with share of voice (SOV) — the measurement of a brand’s media spend as a percentage of its overall industry.  This measurement gives you an idea of who owns the media space in a particular market. 

Typically, you’d expect SOV to align with market share of revenue — for example, the brand that holds 25% of the market share in a particular industry would have around 25% SOV. 

Renowned marketers Peter Field and Robert Brittain pioneered the finding that brands can increase their market share by increasing their SOV — even going so far as to formalize the calculation. 

Extra share of voice (eSOV) is what happens when a brand’s SOV exceeds its share of market.  This number can be found by subtracting share of market from share of voice. 

So if a brand currently sits at 10% of market share, and it invests in owning 25% of SOV, its eSOV will be 25% minus 10%… or 15%.  Field and Brittain’s findings estimate that for every +10% of eSOV, a brand can expect to gain 0.5% of market share.

Ok now in English… if you punch above your weight class in marketing and advertising activity (increasing SOV), you can expect to steal market share from the category leaders

That may seem intuitive, but eSOV helps put some real definition around the media investment a challenger brand needs in order to grow. 

Why is this especially important right now? 

Because as media spending ramps down across a given industry, challenger brands have an easier hill to climb in order to plus-up their eSOV. As an added bonus, according to Field and Brittain, eSOV can work even harder when accompanied by exceptional creative strength.  Moreover, research shows that in times of economic uncertainty, consumers’ brand loyalty is reduced as they are willing to try cheaper and/or more readily available alternatives.

So go ahead, swing for the fences, and make some of this math work in your favor!

Ready to turn your marketing department into a lean, mean selling machine, but need some inspiration for your next big idea?  Go ahead…