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Locally Grown Episode 11: How Small Businesses Can Survive When Inflation Hits


Inflation is scary. It means uncertainty and uncontrollable changes.

That doesn’t mean you can’t respond with solid business principles. But it might mean embracing the antithetical once in a while to continue growing. Here, Andrew and Joe talk about marketing that stands out while others are reigning it in.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Tips for keeping clients during the hard days
  • Why it's important to keep ad spend up when times get tough
  • Making a statement about client commitment

Tips for keeping clients during the hard days

When something as uncontrollable as inflation happens, companies have no choice but to make necessary changes. Unfortunately, at the other end of this is their clients.

In most cases of inflation, a company’s first move is to shut down marketing and attempt to protect money. But Andrew and Joe argue that this only pushes clients further away.

“I think just like business owners are concerned about inflation, your customers also are, and then marketing is a really great way to help ease that concern or that anxiety,” explains Andrew.

By keeping your clients in the loop and ensuring that you and your company are still there for them, you’re more likely to keep them around. And while it may be easy to cut out your marketing efforts completely, making changes that speak to your clients and using marketing efforts to draw more people in is vital during times of inflation.

“You can keep your marketing efforts the same and reallocate your efforts on what’s going to resonate more.” — Andrew Adams

Because increased pricing is at the center of inflation for both companies and clients, marketing is one of the best tactics available to stand out amongst other companies and grab the attention of otherwise hesitant customers.

Why it’s important to keep ad spend up when times get tough

Marketing tends to be the first thing pushed to the back burner when challenges such as inflation hit. But with that comes a lack of exposure for your brand and less opportunity to differentiate yourself from other companies pushing their marketing efforts to the side.

“If you are in a competitive market, and everyone else is cutting back on marketing, you staying on top of it pushes you even further — it sets you apart even more than being in that competitive space.” — Andrew Adams

If you are going to make any marketing cuts, don’t touch the budget. Instead, honing in on the marketing tactics that have brought in the most results in the past will help ensure that you’re seeing as much growth as possible during a tough time for businesses.

Marketing is all about finding new channels and new ways to bring in new clients but when inflation is happening and potential clients are more skeptical about spending, it’s safer to be less experimental and more focused on maintaining what works.

“Instead of cutting marketing, you keep the same budget. And you pull out the research and development, you pull away from the new channels you're exploring, and you dump it into what you know is working,” explains Joe.

Marketing is not just for bringing new clients in but for maintaining your brand as well. Cutting all marketing efforts and essentially disappearing from clients both new and old not only prevents your company from growing but could also lead current clients to step away from your business after not hearing from you in a while.

Making a statement about client commitment

When bringing new clients in becomes difficult, ensure customer loyalty and find new ways to generate revenue with your current clients.

“It'll be similar to the pandemic, where people might get weeded out, and that creates opportunities for those investing time and money to get more market share, and have a greater impact in their communities.” — Joe Martin

A creative way to tackle this is by creating a steady stream of income from your most loyal customers.

Methods such as offering clients a subscription service not only guarantee that they’re around for the allotted time of the subscription (ie: 12 months), it guarantees revenue for your company on a monthly or yearly basis.

Plus, customers love the around-the-clock accessibility of subscription services and will be inclined to join given the company includes incentives that non-subscribers do not have access to.

Most importantly, during these times of change and uncertainty, communicate with your clients, be transparent and be there for them through what is a difficult time for all.

“I think it's a lot about communicating and keeping current customers or recurring customers loyal to you. If there's something that you can do for those customers, I think that goes a long way to just really maintain them through the thick of it,” says Andrew.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website or search for Locally Grown in your favorite podcast player.

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