It’s fair to say that the last few years have been a hectic time for individuals and businesses globally. It wasn’t too long ago that we were in a worldwide lockdown, and now we find ourselves in the midst of a financial crisis. Consequently, individuals and companies have been forced to reassess their spending to emerge triumphant from the cost-of-living crisis.
One thing that may suffer as a result of the cost-of-living crisis is a company’s strategy for digital marketing. While a digital content marketing strategy is integral to the success of a business, it doesn’t possess the same urgency as the need to pay bills, buy stock, or pay employees. As a result, many companies are finding their marketing needs to take a backseat out of necessity.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Before we can delve into how the cost-of-living crisis might impact a company’s marketing strategy, we must first address what a digital marketing strategy is. Quite simply, digital marketing strategies are the building blocks that allow businesses to achieve a certain goal. Common goals include increased lead generation, multiplied sales, or improved site visibility. That said, what does this have to do with the ongoing financial crisis?
The Cost-of-Living Crisis in the UK: Spending Habits
The vast majority of companies rely on consumer engagement. Meanwhile, the cost-of-living crisis doesn’t solely affect businesses; it also impacts personal finances. As a result, people are reassessing how they spend their money, predominantly cutting back on what we might describe as luxuries, as well as a few essentials. For instance, KPMG conducted a survey of 3,000 consumers about their planned spending habits. The survey revealed that:
- 18% of people are spending less on fitness
- 31% of people are spending less on transport
- 51% of people are cutting back on food and drink shopping
- 39% of people aren’t booking holidays, delaying their trips, or looking for lower prices
- 26% of people are cancelling subscriptions
- 34% of people are spending less on beauty products/services
- 51% of people are planning to cut out takeaways
- 67% of people are planning to cut back on buying clothes
Ultimately, one-third of people are planning on spending less in general, and this is predominantly down to the rising cost of living. While many individuals and businesses are already feeling the pinch of the current financial crisis, we’re still yet to see its full impact.
How the Cost-of-Living Crisis 2022-23 Could Affect Marketing
Unfortunately, there’s no way of saying with certainty how the economic crisis will affect companies. Despite this, we may assume that foot traffic in brick-and-mortar shops will be reduced with more people staying home in an attempt to save money. Similarly, businesses might find that their website traffic increases; however, very few people are actually making purchases. Lastly, companies might see a shift in which items are popular, as people are buying out of need rather than want.
How Should Brands React to the UK Cost-of-Living Crisis 2022-23?
Due to its seemingly everlasting impact, many companies are left wondering whether they should “switch off” their marketing. Although it’s not as simple as pushing a button to switch a marketing strategy off, in times of uncertainty, marketing budgets are often among the first things to go. Despite this, there are adjustments that can be made to a digital marketing strategy to accommodate financial obstacles that aren’t just cutting spending.
Keep the Long Term in Mind
Since funds aren’t stretching as far as they once were, consumers are becoming more conscious about whom they give their money to. It’s more of a priority than it ever has been before to shop with brands that share our individual principles and values. Therefore, these long-term values need to be incorporated into digital marketing strategies.
Communicate with Your Customers
During the cost-of-living crisis, price increases may be inevitable. That said, customers will appreciate it more if these increases are addressed and explained. Otherwise, price increases can feel like a secretive move that consumers may be reluctant to engage with.
Adjust Your Focus
As previously mentioned, more and more customers are buying out of need rather than want. Consequently, businesses might prioritise their “need to have” products in their marketing budget instead of their “want to have” products.
Conduct Regular Search Term Research
As the financial situations and priorities of the general population change, search terms will also be affected. Therefore, companies must ensure that their site content is up to date with the relevant search terms.
Conduct Competitor Research
Businesses can take comfort in the fact that they’re not the only ones being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. From this, companies can assess how their competitors are responding and follow suit where possible.
Implement Cost-Saving Strategies
While it’s not typically recommended to post creative content across websites, social media platforms, and digital PR, this could be a temporary solution for reducing resources.
Target Loyal Customers
Digital marketing usually comprises a balance of targeting new and existing customers; however, it’s infamously more costly and challenging to target new customers. Therefore, temporarily focusing on loyal customers might be the way forward in times of financial uncertainty.
Lend Your Customers a Helping Hand
In order to interact with businesses in such an unstable climate, customers will require a financial incentive to do so. As a result, companies may offer the following:
- Monzo Flex or PayPal Credit payment options
- A customer loyalty programme
- A buy now, pay later scheme
- Discounts or deals for bulk purchases
Treat the Economic Situation as a Google Algorithm Update
In the instance that Google’s algorithm changes, marketing teams are required to gather information over time and make fact-based decisions. Instead of panicking and changing a strategy/budget, this method should be employed instantly.
Trust Your Digital Marketing Agency
With nearly 20 years in the industry, there isn’t much that i3MEDIA hasn’t encountered. Discover more about our online digital marketing services, and contact us to learn how we can help you tackle the cost-of-living crisis.