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Why having a strong marketing strategy and website are so important in uncertain times

Businesses always have to grow and adapt to the environment around them and flexibility is key because the world is always changing. But sometimes approaching this can be challenging, especially if there is a lot of negative change in the world and people are struggling.

Current times are an example of this with the recession and cost-of-living crisis as well as the fact the world is still recovering from a pandemic and there are multiple devastating wars taking place around the globe. Businesses also need to stay attuned to the more long-term factors influencing people and therefore buying habits and consumer behaviour, such as technological advancements.

But even during these times it’s important not to disregard your marketing strategy and in particular your website. It’s crucial for businesses to maintain a strong brand even in challenging times – and this might even make them stand out from the crowd.

For example, research gathered by Cision found that, out of five multinational automotive companies operating during the 2008 recession, the manufacturer that continued putting the same efforts into its communication and kept a consistent approach exited the recession with a much stronger brand image even that it had when the recession hit.

Airbnb: A shining example

Airbnb is just one example of a business that didn’t drop its brand efforts when it was faced with a bigger curveball than anyone could have predicted.

In early 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world and suddenly people stopped travelling. They couldn’t travel abroad, enjoy domestic trips or even go away with friends and family. Everyone was forced to cancel the holidays they had booked, adhere to lockdown rules and stay inside to protect each other.

On paper it wasn’t looking good for Airbnb. The company had skyrocketed to success and was continuing to grow rapidly by the time the pandemic hit. It was hard to find someone who hadn’t used it for leisure or business purposes at some point, and many people were booking multiple trips a year on the platform.

But the pandemic took away a lot of its business. By April of 2020 bookings for both nights away and experiences had dropped by 72%, and from March to April there were more cancellations than bookings on the platform.

And yet instead of staying quiet and waiting for the end of lockdown, Airbnb decided to redouble its marketing efforts to make sure the brand stayed in everyone’s minds so that as soon as travelling was possible again, customers would come flocking.

Sure enough, as lockdown measures started to lift, Airbnb was able to capitalise on the fact that many people suddenly had more freedom to move around due to new remote working policies that had come in because of Covid. Many more people were working fully remotely, meaning they could book Airbnb getaways at any point and just work from wherever they were staying.

In fact in Q4 2021 one in five nights booked on the platform were for stays of a month or more. By November last year, bookings had already surpassed Airbnb’s pre-pandemic highs.

Why having a strong website is so important

First and foremost, having a strong and effective website is absolutely vital for brands for a number of reasons, whether you are facing booming or more difficult times.

A large part of this is making sure you have a strong online presence in 2024. It is key to make sure you are constantly available to customers, irrespective of external circumstances.

This includes making sure your website has strong reach and can overcome any geographical limitations.

How to achieve this

High quality web design is a priority in order to make sure your website does its job of strengthening your brand.

Included in this is the importance of a centralised location for accurate and timely information.

And you also need to pay attention to your e-commerce capabilities, if you need that functionality.

You need an alternative or primary sales avenue during physical market disruptions. Data collection is also vital for understanding customer preferences and behaviour.

Significance of a strong marketing strategy

Maintaining a robust and flexible marketing strategy in general is also key to ensuring your brand keeps a strong presence even in difficult times. In particular businesses should make sure they have a truly agile marketing strategy, which involves a cycle of continuous discovery, testing and adoption.

Goodbye long, 50-page marketing plans, hello agile marketing strategies that test out key markets with target audiences against some defined KPIs. If something works you continue to keep doing it, but if it doesn’t you try something else.

How to achieve this

A top priority should be maintaining visibility and relevance for your brand via your marketing efforts.

You can achieve this by making sure your brand is a consistent presence in consumers’ minds through running targeted campaigns and making sure you align your marketing messages with relevant socio-economic contexts.

Doing regular market research is also a great strategy to understand evolving needs and preferences and make sure you keep an agile strategy to respond to rapid changes in the market.

And finally, you should make sure you focus on having efficient resource allocation by optimising marketing spend for maximum ROI. It’s also important to leverage digital channels for broader reach and lower costs.

Joining up your website and marketing strategy

Having a strong website and strong overall marketing strategy are not separate considerations.

You need to make sure you have cohesive brand messaging across all of your platforms.

An effective website is a key part of your overall marketing strategy, and slipping on the quality of your website even during uncertain times will have a negative impact on your brand.

You can also leverage your website analytics to inform any general marketing decisions.

Final thoughts

In a time marked by uncertainty and unpredictability, a dynamic marketing strategy and in particular a strong web presence are not just beneficial but essential.

They need to provide stability, maintain customer engagement and be flexible in order to adapt and thrive.

Businesses that prioritise this are more likely to be able to navigate and maintain their success even in difficult times, therefore making them stand out from the crowd.


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