When demand slows, many digital leaders instinctively increase or tighten marketing spend, or ramp up activity. While this may be necessary, it’s important to look at your particular situation carefully before making radical changes to your strategy.
Market conditions are very different to those we all operated in 12 months ago.
Yet despite global uncertainty, the Irish economy is expected to grow by 3.8% in 2023 and 3.9% in 2024.
On the back of a 20% increase in digital advertising spend in 2021, digital channels (video, display) represented almost 70% of all Irish digital advertising spend in 2022, so our view remains positive.
Consumer behaviour changes faster than businesses can keep up. If you need to make a change to your marketing strategy, before you do something mental, you should consider some of these questions:
- Are there assumptions behind your offering to customers that should be adjusted or validated?
- Do you have an up-to-date understanding of customer intent?
- Are there gaps or new opportunities that you could take advantage of?
- Are there actions that you could take in the short term to improve conversion?
“Just because economic winds may be uncertain, it does not mean you cannot grow business.”
Where should you focus?
Your focus will depend on what you sell and the markets you operate in, but the first step is to benchmark and assess your current situation.
Here are three areas I recommend looking at:
What is it in your toolbox that you do best and gives you a competitive advantage?
If you understand who your best customers are and their needs, you can focus this advantage on them to increase their loyalty to retain and grow their business.
Tip: Try usability testing on your website or app. Simple surveys with intelligent questions focussed on customer needs. You will always learn something new that you can use to improve your strategy.
Adopt a data-driven mindset, and actively work with quantitative and qualitative behavioural data about your customers and audiences. When you do this, you can test and adjust the approach to your user experience and content.
Tip: Universal Google Analytics will stop tracking data on 1 July 2023. You should install and configure the new Google Analytics 4 now on all of your digital platforms.
Focus on your highest-value acquisition channels.
Some marketing channels will have a higher return, and when you focus here and improve your conversion rate it will have a compounding effect on your numbers.
You should at all times have a clear picture of the impact all your marketing efforts have on your performance. We call this simply ‘money in, money out’. Know where spend is having the greatest impact and why.
Tip: ChatGPT is exciting but it is unlikely to ever create content suitable for SEO.
There are two activities I recommend that will help to focus and optimise your digital strategy for growth:
- Digital Benchmark
Benchmark reporting is one of our most powerful tools. It uses a combination of audience research, deep-dive analytics and competitor analysis to give a clear data-driven view of where you sit amongst your competitors in terms of visibility, market position, social and content. You will understand areas to improve, new opportunities to target and the places you should focus on to retain and grow business.
- User Experience Audit
A UX audit or review of your website or app will identify performance, conversion and technical issues. It will uncover issues that can be addressed in the short and medium term. By making small adjustments we have seen conversion rate increases of up to 40%.
The Friday Method
It should be obvious, but as an agency, we follow the advice we share, particularly when it comes to understanding our customers’ needs.
Of course, they want to see we have the skills, experience, and creativity to deliver growth. And our rare ability to deliver results across demand generation to user experience and conversion gives our customers a distinct advantage.
But more than this, we have learned that on a human level, our own customers also want to be understood, to be supported, and to get a level of service that shows we are invested and committed to their success.
So, just because economic winds may be uncertain, with some smarter focus on your customers, you can maximise your growth.
Thanks for reading.
- The ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary, March 29th 2023.
- Magna Advertising Forecast (IAPI), December 2022.
Also, McKinsey’s The 10 Rules on Growth is very good. August 2022 (read or listen).