Marketing during the cost-of-living crisis
The political and economic climate in the UK makes it something of a bizarre place right now. We’re on our third Prime Minister this year. There’s a cost-of-living crisis. There’s war in Europe. We have our old Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, going on I’m a Celeb and the man I am convinced is a Harry Enfield character (Michael Fabricant MP) commenting about it. Have I Got News For You is no longer a satire show. It’s simply THE NEWS.
The Tory shambles aside, the cost-of-living crisis, both at home and internationally, can make selling stuff seem a bit distasteful.
How do you market during a cost-of-living crisis?
The first answer is “with consideration”. But more practically, this presents a challenge for marketers. In April 2022, KPMG conducted a survey, and the results speak for themselves:
- A third of consumers are buying less so far in 2022
- Clothing is the most common cost-cutting target, followed by eating out
- A third of consumers with savings are using them to offset their cost of living
- Rising costs are 4x greater a deterrent to spend savings than pandemic uncertainty
- Value for money is the main purchasing consideration for consumers in 2022
With all that negativity, it may be tempting to “turn off” your marketing activity. This is not the thing to do. Bad idea. Remove that from your head. It’s not about turning it off. Your target consumers will forget you exist. It’s about sensitivity and analysing what you’re doing.
So, what can you do?
- Focus on the value your product provides. People who can will still part with their money, they just need to know it’s a sound investment. Whether you’re flogging a kilo of carrots for 30p or selling a decent reusable coffee cup that stops people from needing to replace cheap ones so often, show your value.
- Make sure your retention strategies are strong. It’s nothing new that it’s cheaper to keep current customers than find new ones. Make sure the people regularly buying from you are being treated well and receiving relevant messages.
- Check out your competition. What are they doing in response? I firmly believe that the most successful companies focus on themselves, being better than they were yesterday. However, being aware of what’s happening with your competitors, especially during a time like this, can be very valuable. Are their messages working? Learn from their successes and mistakes.
- Consider which products you market. Supermarkets are focusing on their essential products – veg, meat, dairy, bread and household items. While things may shift a bit over Christmas, currently you’re not seeing Tesco advertise their Clubcard price on Moet. They’re telling you the price of a bag of spuds.
- Always think ahead. This is particularly important with social media – keep that audience engaged. Don’t slow down your activity because you’re selling less. People will return when they can.
- Can you genuinely help people? Can you offer better deals? Bulk buying promotion? Free delivery? Email sign-up 10% vouchers?
- Be honest. You’ve only got to look at the utter shambles that is our government to understand that people want straight answers. Don’t beat around the bush if you’re putting prices up. Be open as to why.
- Show your values. Can you donate a portion of your profits to a charity?
- Be creative. Don’t just do the obvious “We’re all in this together” message. People are seeing the same stuff everywhere. See this video of COVID-19 ads.
- Do your research. Blogs like this very one and many others out there have actionable tips and advice. It’s worth reading up.
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