With the economy on the brink of recession, now is the time for businesses to adjust their marketing strategies to focus more on retaining and growing existing customers. As companies are looking to manage their spending, a strategy that puts existing customers first is more effective at driving growth than relying on acquiring new business.
According to a recent study by The Marketing Practice, many B2B marketers have already taken action. When asked “how has your marketing adapted to recent economic projections for inflation and recession,” here are the top five responses:
- 46% focus on growing existing customers or moving them to more profitable services.
- 37% spend more of their budget on branding because this is a great time to gain a voice.
- Increase your marketing budget by 35%, because now is the right time to gain market share.
- 33 Accelerated timelines for launching new products/services that can help customers respond to the economy.
- 29% changed their messaging to focus on degrading topics like productivity
Is your marketing strategy designed to retain and grow customers during tough economic times? If not, now is the time to expand your capabilities here, as companies have proven the ability to improve Net Revenue Retention Rate (NRR) and increase Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) increasingly popular with investors.
If you’re looking for a nudge in the right direction, here are three tips to get you started:
1. Focus on your existing customer base
As a marketer, one of your primary goals is to ensure your customers have a positive experience at every touchpoint. Customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) will be key in B2B marketing over the next two years. CLM enables companies to generate growth and create value by retaining loyal customers. Companies that can increase customer loyalty by creating exceptional after-sales experiences will do well as we sink deeper into the recession. However, proper and effective implementation will require collaboration. It is essential to combine marketing efforts, sales, and customer success. Marketers need to know what the sales team is doing strategically, how they can support their efforts, and which customers are buying or not buying. While Customer Success focuses on new ways to extract and demonstrate value to customers, also works with marketing on how to amplify those messages.
It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one and that in an average business cycle.
Now is the time to focus more resources on pleasing your existing customer base and helping them adapt to this new reality.
2. Innovate to stand out
Innovation is a great opportunity to influence growth and retain customers during a downturn. Here are some ways to innovate to stand out in a competitive market:
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. The ability to take risks, experiment, learn, and adapt is fundamental in modern growth marketing. Let’s say you can satisfy your existing customers to secure and maintain your revenue. In this case, you’ll have a good chance to experiment with new audiences and figure out how best to turn them into future customers.
- Integrate new technologies and data sources such as intents into your plans to increase targeting and efficiency. The ability to deliver relevant and personalized messages based on past choices and behaviors will allow you to engage in a way that resonates every time.
- Focus on helping customers get the most out of what they have to drive added value and growth. Yes, you can consider cross-selling and upselling, but there are also opportunities to show them the benefits of continuing to use and adapt their current implementation.
- Even something as simple as changing your short-term message to match the pain of a customer or prospect can bring them closer to your brand. Make sure you speak their language and focus on what affects their business, instead of leading with your solutions.
3. Meet your audience where they are
You know how to reach your existing customers, but where can you engage them?
Opportunities abound, but communities and forums – industry and industry-specific – are growing in audience and reach. They allow marketers to share information, get feedback and communicate with a target audience. Even better, presenting yourself in an engaging environment that your audience least expects can make your brand stand out. Here’s how to spend your time in these online communities in a positive way:
To ask a question:
If you’re worried about something in particular, ask for feedback and advice. There is no better way to understand your target audience than by asking them questions.
Determine how and why your audience makes purchasing decisions:
Why did they choose product A over product B? What factors did they take into account? You can then determine if your marketing message matches your findings. Join as an individual or as a professional:
You are NOT here to sell. You are here to be a valued member of the community. It means asking questions, giving thoughtful answers, and sharing your knowledge with others. Take a community-led, not-vendor-led approach. The more attention you gain in the community by providing value as a member, the greater the rewards through personal branding, corporate branding, and, ideally, growth. Knowing where to reach your customers is half the battle. You’re more likely to make an impact when you’re in the right place at the right time.