That’s why there are few online marketing consultants in Hungary today that lived through the Great Recession of 2008. Although I had been working in marketing for 10 years by then, I was as surprised by the happenings as anyone else who had previously enjoyed the fruits of the economic growth of the early 2000’s. Having experienced all that, I would do many things differently today, and I’d give different advice to my clients as well.
In this article, I will show you how to prepare your business’s marketing communications for the impending global economic crisis of 2020. This crisis started in September 2019, and it will be referenced in future history books.
Experiences from the Great Recession of 2008
When the global economic crisis of 2008 started, my company had been working as the online communications agency of GlaxoSmithKline Pharma. We had clients such as Vista, which at the time was the biggest hungarian travel agency, or the pharmaceutical company Abbott, 77 Elektronika, and many other strong businesses. When the recession hit, I didn’t think that it would affect us in any significant way. And yet, these companies decreased their budgets significantly, which resulted in my company’s revenue being halved by the end of the 2010’s. The crisis brings with itself budget cuts, and that’s something you also have to prepare for when it comes to your clients.
So you can expect the current state of things to change: you won’t close as many deals or get as many requests for quotes, UNLESS you prepare your marketing communications adequately for the global economic crisis of 2019…
But what should you spend on during the crisis that started in 2019?
There’s an old saying that if your business is going strong, spend on marketing. If it doesn’t, spend more.
However hard it is to say it, but the driving force of a business is not necessarily the manufacturing processes or its services – it all comes down to whether you can sell it. This is especially the case during an economic crisis. Naturally, the news of a terrible service will spread, but a mediocre service or product with great marketing will be much more successful, than a great product with bad marketing.
Let’s look an example. There’s a perpetual battle between the fans and manufacturers of Apple and Android devices about which is better. Up until now, there hasn’t been a significant difference between the technological standards of Samsung, Huawei and Apple. The iPhone 11 however, which was released in September 2019, is only at the level of an Android phone from 2-3 years ago (their new selling point is the ultra-wide camera, which was perfectly implemented by LG in their own phones 4 years ago), and yet, people are going crazy for it. Even if we look at the slightly less-advanced Xiaomi, we can quickly conclude that Apple profits three times as much from almost the same technology as some other Android-based manufacturers do. Why?
Because Apple is the biggest and best marketing machine in the world. Apple is not a tech company, but a marketing company, which knows how to generate demand for its products and can sell phones for immense amounts of money, while others would set a much lower price for almost the same thing.
And that’s what matters when it comes to the quality and the salability of a product. This is what’s hard to explain to your colleagues responsible for production, as they think that the company would be nowhere without them. But during a crisis, without You, the marketer, they wouldn’t get the chance to show off their work, because they couldn’t create quality products without you generating demand for these products and services.
Therefore, when it comes to deciding what your company should save on – the manufacturing processes or marketing communications – during a crisis, marketing should always win. Show this article the budgetary decision maker at your company…
Learn from the greats!
Henry Ford and his company lived through the Great Depression. There are two very wise quotes from him, which we should mention. Nowadays, one of them (or an alternate version, at least) is often associated with Bill Gates, but the original comes from Ford: “If you invest a dollar, use the another one to get people to know about it!” This means exactly the same as the quote associated with Gates: “If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on PR.” But as with Windows, this too was copied by Gates from someone else… Ford’s other wise quote, that’s appropriate here is: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
With all these examples, I hope it’s clear now that you have to increase your marketing communications budget. But you shouldn’t spend it on the same thing as you have been up until now. Let us show you, how to update your marketing budget!
Online marketing budget for the 2020 global economic crisis
Crises teach you to be efficient. In every aspect of your business, including online marketing, you have to spend on the things that deliver the best ROI (returns on investment). Forget about spending your money on Google and Facebook ads, and start tracking your conversions right now, which will let you know exactly how many customers you get out of each of your marketing tools.
Don’t listen to your gut, or what your marketing consultant tells you: online marketing can be precisely measured, and you can tell exactly what results you’re getting for the money that you spend on marketing. What matters is staying under the conversion limit – nothing else really does. Set by you, the conversion limit is the amount of money that you can afford to spend on a sale. If you’d like to stay in business, then this is the only thing that really matters. Don’t choose a marketer just because your kids go to the same school, but rather because they can deliver numerous customers under that conversion limit. Which tools allow you to do this most efficiently? Let’s have a look!
If you are not interested in the rest of this article, ask for a price quote for the development and implementation of your online marketing strategy, right now, here!
Which marketing tools should you concentrate on, and why?
If you act now, and change up your marketing communications at the very beginning of this current crisis, you can achieve a remarkable efficiency boost which will result in lower expenses later. For that, you’ll need to develop a sustainable, cost-efficient online marketing structure, which means focusing your attention on tools that can deliver conversions at low costs in the long term.
When someone asks for a price quote for online marketing consulting, we first suggest a marketing audit. During this service, we assess their current online communications to find and point out their weaknesses (and any areas they may be lacking in) as well as their strengths.
Even to this day I come across companies that spend immense amounts of money on Google Ads (formerly AdWords) advertisements without any conversion tracking, which may deliver some immediate results, but are nothing more than short-lived investments. Simple ads, without any conversion tracking are like flames on the end of a matchstick: so long as they’re fuelled by money, they emit some light, but then they quickly burn out, and that’s it. However, there’s a smarter way, and it’s not even that difficult. You should get some long-burning fires going, such as these:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Before you misunderstand: no, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t use Google advertisements. We’re saying that you should perfectly optimize your website, and start tracking your conversions first, then build your Google Ads on these foundations.
SEO should be done on a well-structured website, possibly one that was written from scratch with a unique source code (there are several reasons why you shouldn’t use open source platforms such as WordPress).
So, to best prepare for the crisis, you should create an SEO-friendly website and leave its content creation and general management to an online marketing consultant and a search engine optimization company. Why would you need a consultant? Because Google’s algorithms have changed so much recently that no matter how much someone reads about search engine optimization or how many courses they complete, if it’s not part of their daily routine, if it’s not their profession, then they won’t be able to do search engine optimization on a high enough level. A well-optimized website, however, will constantly generate customers without any clicking costs!
Google Ads that are based on SEO landing pages and an SEO strategy are much more effective compared to simply running them on their own, or by someone who doesn’t know anything about search engine optimization.
Big marketing platforms, such as Google and Facebook give you the opportunity to build so-called remarketing lists. An opportunity seized by few. But what are these lists exactly and what can you do with them?
Many people don’t buy the first time they visit your website. Remarketing lists are lists of people who have shown interest in your products, services, or your company, for example, by visiting certain pages on your website. If a user visits page on your website, then it is probably because they’re interested in that product or service. Therefore, you can (automatically) add that user to your remarketing list in order to show them ads that are tailored precisely to their interests (based on which pages they visited on your website). This way, you can make sure that your ads are shown only to people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. But don’t forget that without conversion tracking, all ads are just wasting money.
Build a following on Instagram
Instagram’s popularity is constantly increasing, and the platform offers several opportunities for you to build a significant following (check out the author’s Instagram profile here). Facebook used to be like this at the start of the 2010’s. Instagram’s audience is getting “old”, and it’s no longer about teens – there’s demand there, armed with purchasing power. We measured significant amounts of conversions originating from Instagram at the hotels we do Instagram marketing for!
Content marketing has been the king of online marketing techniques for decades. All that changed was that video joined written content at the frontlines. For efficient online marketing, create a content marketing strategy, and publish written, image, and video content to your website regularly. This is what will fuel SEO too!
Create an online strategy
It doesn’t matter what wind you catch, if you don’t know which port you want to reach. I always start my lectures on marketing strategy at the university. To become efficient, you first have to know what goal you’d like to reach and you have to plan your way there.
I’ve mentioned earlier, that we do an online marketing audit for the companies that come to us for consultancy. At the end of these audits, we create a report and a one-year online marketing strategy plan. We present this to our partner, and then manage their online marketing communication together, according to the plan. We’re not hiding anything – we set goals, track them, and continue planning. With numbers, which we then deliver. This is what you have to do as well in order to be able to see your progress, and to make sure that what you’re doing is cost-effective.
So go ahead and develop your own online marketing communications, or ask for an audit and let’s do it together!