In an interview published by Authority Magazine, FlexMR Chief Marketing Officer Chris Martin highlights the skills required to grow a business during times of economic turmoil and the importance of accurate information.
In particular, Chris emphasises the role of focusing on what is within an organisation's locus of control, and sticking to the fundamentals of marketing science. In the interview, he highlights five key takeaways that brand leaders should pay attention to in order to survive and thrive in a challenging market.
He recommends adopting a zero based budgeting approach, cultivating informal lines of communication, being bold & memorable, leaning on professional partners, and focusing on micro-actions not macroeconomics. Here's a few excepts from key moments throughout the interview.
Planning in Times of Uncertainty
Uncertainty is a natural part of the business planning cycle, but markets react poorly in situations when the future can not easily be predicted.
The best way to approach business planning is to define what is within an organizational locus of control. Be clear about the impact that your actions can have and what is outside of your control. But that’s easier said than done. So here are two strategies I rely on when the future isn’t clear:
The first is building and leaning on stakeholder research capabilities. To mitigate the risks of uncertainty, it’s important to have early warning indicators in place and really understand what’s happening in the minds of your customers, employees, and investors. Formal qualitative research, as well as informal relationship-building strategies, are both crucial ingredients in this equation.
The second strategy involves building an agile pathway from observation to action. In fast-changing times it’s important to respond quickly. We might not be able to see far into the future, even with robust scenario planning — so instead, leaders should have in place pipelines which enable teams to react fast, in a clear and decisive manner.
The Pricing Effect
Pricing is a complex affair, driven not just by affordability, competitive positioning, and costs — but perception too. One of the worst actions a company can take, even in a challenging economy, is to cut prices. Not only is it more difficult to raise prices again after a temporary promotional period, but it signals to consumers that it may not be as valuable as previously thought. And it can create negative sentiment in those customers that previously purchased at a higher price.
In some cases, the be course of action may be to do nothing at all. If cost-cutting or promotional activities would harm revenue more than the volume of customers that are lost through natural attrition — try to stay the course. Otherwise, it’s time to get creative. Consider what product and service lines can be added to serve the most cost-conscious end of the market and start extending your portfolio.
Perhaps the most famous contemporary example of this is the discounted, ad-supported subscription tier that Netflix is trialing of its streaming service. Similarly, in CPG and FMCG sectors, a squeeze on consumer spending drives greater interest in both smaller sizes of existing products and the economic benefits of bulk buying.
Want to read more, including Chris' recommendations three common marketing mistakes to avoid? Access the full text, available on Authority Magazine today.
About Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine is an online business publication devoted to sharing in-depth, and interesting interviews, featuring people who are authorities in entrepeneurship, popular culture, wellness, social impact, and Tech. Since 2018, Authority Magazine has conducted more than 50,000 interviews - drawing out important stories that are both empowering and actionable.