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In 2023, reactivity is marketers’ secret ingredient for loyalty and engagement

By Chris Whyatt |



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January 18, 2023 | 7 min read

Chris Whyatt of Receptional tells us how businesses can stay afloat in the face of changing consumer behavior: by leveraging their existing customer base and having their finger on the pulse.

Worn out tight rope

Amid recession and inflation, how can marketers stay on top? Through smart reactive plays, says Receptional's Chris Whyatt / Aditya Wardhana via Unsplash

In times of economic and political upheaval, it's important for marketers to be aware of how major changes are affecting consumer behavior and purchasing habits. This can help inform marketing strategies and decisions.

In the UK, NatWest economists expect inflation to fall this year; however, it will still remain above targets, with current levels between 8 and 10%. This, along with higher energy and interest rates, creates a continued storm of users having less money in their pockets.

There is better news: The Bank of England doesn’t expect the base rate to rise as much as it had previously thought after the bungled mini budget back in September. My prediction? Consumers will continue feeling the squeeze and will continue being more frugal with their disposable income. If things trend in a positive direction, look for consumers to uncork pent-up buying powers in the summer.

Smart marketers will continue to monitor Google Trends, set up Google Alerts for industry news stories, and prepare to be reactive in their strategies.

Focus on value and purpose

Consumers are more mindful of their spending in times of uncertainty, so it's important for marketers to communicate the value and purpose of their products and services. This can help build trust and loyalty with customers. Brands need to focus on showcasing their unique selling points and value proposition to prospects more than ever. This can include highlighting Trustpilot reviews, industry awards, and so on.

Price will still be the determining factor for many consumers, but when presented with similar offers from several brands, what will be the distinction for brands to stand out?

In this environment, leverage your value propositions as much as possible. Understanding customer lifetime value (CLTV) will be key, especially for businesses looking to offer true maximum discounts.

Leverage data and analytics

By using data and analytics, marketers can better understand their target audience and make more informed decisions about how to reach and engage them.

First-party data is always key; it's even more crucial for brands during times of uncertainty. These are users who have already engaged with your business and, in theory, carry a minimal cost to re-engage with.

Facing a cookieless future, brands must maximize their own data. According to research by Kantar, '78% of large businesses are planning to strengthen the data platforms they use to better understand consumers.

Leveraging first-party data to better understand, segment and target your customers will be key. And with Google sunsetting its 'Similar Audiences' function in May, understanding your user data will be key for expanding the reach of branded campaigns.

Be agile and adaptable

In times of change, it's important for marketers to be able to pivot and adapt their strategies as needed. This may involve being open to trying new channels and approaches, or adjusting messaging to better resonate with consumers.

While companies tend to cut back and reduce spending during tough times to focus on low-hanging fruit, there's still a big vacuum for brands to set aside a 'test budget' to use on new channels (for example, new ad models on subscription video on demand, TikTok or Twitch).

Brands still need to be efficient with their marketing budgets, so a purge of existing activity is always a good idea. Sense check what you have running and make sure you are getting value and the desired outcome from your channels. Most importantly, test, test, and test some more. Don’t settle for the mindset that 'it was working before'; these remain uncertain times.

Prioritize customer experience

In a challenging economic environment, it's important for marketers to prioritize customer experience and ensure that their interactions with the brand are positive and seamless. This can help foster loyalty and drive long-term success.

Your customers are your biggest asset, so businesses need to make sure that customer service is a top priority. Whether through website usability or customer service online, brands need to double down on their investment into getting this right. Hopefully, by addressing potential customer issues, brands aren’t leaving money on the table instead of in their pocket.

Brands that fail to adapt and change in these challenging times will struggle to remain viable, and we could see some casualties this year. But brands that double down on user experience and really understand their customers will continue to weather the storm and grow this year.

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Founded in 1999, just a year after Google, Receptional is an award-winning agency that's remained at the forefront of digital marketing for over 20 years.

A team of 50+ creative and technical marketers, we're a dynamic, forward-thinking agency that believes in being transparent, collaborative and curious.

We promise to deliver Smarter Digital Thinkingfor our clients, through our proprietary tools, customer insights and talented team. Together, these enable us to deliver industry-leading results at speed.

Our purpose is to create Better People, Better Lives. It means we: hire people with potential and enable them to flourish; contribute research and insights that drive industry change; and get involved in Bedfordshire life, supporting local causes.

Receptional constantly aims high and finishes higher. Our work has been frequently rewarded in recent years, resulting in us being named Search Agency of the Year by The Drum and Best Integrated Search Agency at both the UK and European Search Awards.

We work across diverse sectors and are proud to have unmatched experience in sports, gaming and financial services. Our clients include: Aspire Global, Aviva, Betdaq, Bill Plant Driving School, Casumo, Chemist4U, Fondy, Kiddi Caru, Plus500 and Skilling.

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