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Crisis Management

Why Financial Firms Need to Ramp Up Marketing Efforts Now


by Rosemary Denney

If you haven’t planned ahead for a crisis situation, then taking care of it right now is the next best thing that you can do. If you’re considering marketing budget cuts, don’t.

© tadamichi/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Business mirrors life. There are times when everything seems to be smooth sailing for us, and the waters are calm, but there are other times when the wind and tides are high, and we have to buckle up and batten down the hatches. It is as true for our businesses as it is in our lives. As for the tough times; it can often be bumpy, but it may never be worse than when a recession hits, and unfortunately, it can be tricky to predict when one might strike.

Some of the most significant questions we can face in a situation where our businesses are up against turbulence, is where the greatest value may be for our marketing plan, and how best to navigate the crisis until it’s over; taking care of our businesses and our clients along the way.

In times of economic downturn, many companies begin looking for ways to cut their expenses. Often, they examine their budget to reduce marketing, public relations, social media, and advertising costs. What these companies may not realize is that by cutting these services, they are actually choking their business and stifling it from new growth.
During the Great Recession, over 400,000 small businesses went bankrupt or completely closed down. To avoid facing a similar fate, it’s important to maintain a steady track, and keep marketing initiatives going. If you haven’t planned ahead for a crisis situation, then taking care of it right now is the next best thing that you can do. How do you do that? To begin with, if you’re considering marketing budget cuts; don’t. Here’s why:

  1. Marketing is the lifeline that keeps your business moving forward

Do you have a plan B for your marketing strategy when things take an unexpected turn? You should, and that scenario shouldn’t be to cut your marketing budget. In times of financial uncertainty, your clients and your business colleagues are all going to be looking for security and stability. Consistency in your approach to marketing and communication with those people is going to give them the confidence in you and your business to stay. When the economy is challenged and people see the companies that they trust suddenly start making big changes, it shows them that firstly, the company they relied on wasn’t prepared, and secondly, things are not okay. That tells them that it’s time to leave and find security elsewhere. The best way to illustrate your stability is, as the British would say; to Keep Calm and Carry On.

  1. Taking care of your own

Your existing clients are the lifeblood of your business. They are the fundamental basis that keeps your doors open. Their faith in you, in your work with them, and in your steady presence is one of the factors of a contract of honor. When you are faced with difficult financial decisions, remember that it isn’t just about you; it’s about every single one of your clients and colleagues who is relying on you. The first step in a crisis is to take care of your own and make sure that they are well and good before moving on to the next step. Focus on what you have, and take care of it. This shows your clients and colleagues that they are your first and foremost priority, and that alone will induce loyalty and dedication in them to stay with you, and it will define you as a leader in your industry. We make it through tough times in unity, or we don’t make it through.  

  1. Taking stock

With your clients looked after, the next step is evaluation. In any kind of a difficult situation, human behavior changes. We must learn to adapt, and sometimes to readapt. Those behavioral changes will affect you and your business, and the relationships you have with everyone within your company; whether they are a client or associate. Assess those behavioral changes, because those are indicators that show you clearly how best to fix what might go wrong, and how best to encourage and support what may be going right. Challenges are an opportunity to come up with solutions, and solutions bring about innovation and advancement. It’s how we grow and progress. Take the pulse of those you interact with and see what you can do to improve the situations with each one of them, and then market to that, because what you will uncover in your evaluation is need. Needs, like the weather and the economy, change. Look for the needs, market to those needs, and then respond to them by providing solutions. It’s why you’re in business to begin with.

  1. When the going gets tough, the tough get going

In times of trouble, one of the most meaningful actions you can undertake is to communicate, and to do it often. Be clear and open with your clients and have it come from the top down. People in convoluted or confusing circumstances want to be reassured that everything is going to be alright, and honest, transparent communication is key to achieving that. Through your marketing, you can show those who work with you—and those new clients who don’t yet know you—what kind of a leader you are, what kind of business you run, and most importantly, you can show them what really happens when the chips are down. When your clients and prospects have questions, you must be present. You have to show up, and good marketing does exactly that for you; it puts you out in front of those uncertain masses, it gives them a reason to believe that when times are hard, you will still be around, and they can count on you, and most significant of all, it gives them a reason to stay. It also gives them a reason to refer you, and reputation is everything. Everyone wants a trustworthy leader like that, and that is precisely what you and your continuing marketing plan can give them.

  1. The genuine article

Should you keep marketing as you always have? Absolutely, but your message should change. In times of trial, everyone is searching for the right answers so they can determine the best way forward for themselves. You are the key to communication with your clients and colleagues. You are the lighthouse in the storm that needs to give them direction and reassurance. Your message to those who rely on you should be one of solidarity; be genuine and show them that you are going to remain strong through the unknown, that you will be there for them, and that you are as reliable as you always have been, so they can count on you and trust you to be there when things level out again, as they always do. It’s nice to be around when things are good, but there is never a more important time to communicate with your clients than when things go wrong. It gives them a reason to believe in you, in how you serve them, and in the relationship that you share with them. It ensures that they will remain loyal to you because they know that they can trust you, and in a symbiotic turn, it ensures that you will remain in business in continuation and growth, with your doors open, ready for the good days to come around again.

Rosemary Denney, President of Wealth Matters Consulting