Well... We've been back for a while.
We've been busy trying to digest everything that's been going on and see if we understand what's about to happen.
Here, we consider that in most businesses the cycles do not correspond to the calendar year. They start a new cycle in September that lasts until the following summer.
So this time is still part of the reflection process for the new year.
But in order to reflect on strategies or tactics, it is necessary to analyze what lies ahead.
The scenarios that even the Portuguese government is putting off presenting, because at the moment there are none.
A troubled year, so we don't miss the training of the pandemic years.
At the moment we are counting on: a war, an energy crisis, massive inflation, a very high risk of a recession, a crisis in multiple sectors related to the growth of raw material costs (among others), loss of purchasing power (on the consumers), rising interest rates (which does not help either consumers or businesses), an environmental crisis (fires and extreme drought), an energy crisis (widespread rise in energy and fuel prices)...
Which are some of the biggest and most impactful things, because still others more linked to this or that country (Italy now has a far-right leadership, some countries continue to grow and give cards when compared to this garden by the sea, Ukraine continues its war and Russia maintains its "mode operandis").
Things that we must consider in an analysis that is intended to be visionary and preamble to what to expect for companies, their strategies and tactics and other approaches to markets and their consumers.
But the prospects are even scary, but above all the unpredictability and volatility of all scenarios.
We seem to be faced with more variables than in times of pandemic (a clear exaggeration).
Prepare for the Future
But how to plan and act, in the perspective that is most relevant to us (Marketing and Communication) in the face of a volatile and crisis market.
Naturally, there will be variations according to the area of each organization.
And with the impacts that market variations can bring to the activity of each one.
Important will be monitoring consumer sentiment and prospects.
If any less positive action was something that would leave a weakened mark, now that risk of a negative association can be, in some cases, fatal.
All forms of market approach and communication must place organizations and brands on the client's side, never defrauding expectations.
Another aspect to be known and evaluated has to do with the financial health of the organization, and with its capacity for resilience in the face of existing problems and those that may still arise.
As well as your ability to react defensively or offensively to adversity.
After a period such as the acute phase of the pandemic, many businesses may still not have their resistance consolidated. Therefore, knowing and planning contingencies for the next 12 to 24 months should be something to consider in the analysis to be carried out.
However, all businesses must also consider that it is in the crisis phases that relevant market and consumer gains can be made, even making investments in counter-cycle. Competitive advantages can be gained in this way.
Manage the business vertical
It is about managing a balance that can sometimes be precarious.
It is managing the entire vertical of an organization in order to ensure its survival and create an even stronger bond with its customers.
With regard to consumers, it will always be necessary, with their monitoring, to hear if there is any change with regard to the valued aspects and in what way their "share of wallet" may change.
Knowing the "pain points" of your target audience can influence many of the actions to be developed and the way you approach and communicate with them.
This knowledge should always be seen as an investment. The more knowledge you have about your potential or current customer, the lower your acquisition costs can be.
Also, always treat all marketing activities with a view to contributing to the organization and its growth and sales processes.
All these activities must be integrated with the strategic and financial objectives of the company/brand, so that everyone understands the relevance of this activity, throughout the vertical within the organization.
The maxim, in all aspects, is preparation and knowledge to intervene and change tactics in order to be proactive in relation to market constraints.
Keep the focus
Will there be certainties or will it be right in every situation? Probably not, as in any other scenario. But with preparation and focus, you can avoid some situations that are less beneficial for the organization and the brand. Particularly with regard to investment in situations that may not bring the necessary benefits at this stage.
Preparing, and always being ready, will be part of the horizon in the short and medium term. Let's hope it's for a short time.
If you don't know how, hire a professional, internal or external, so you can make informed decisions. This is one of the parts where investment can be the way to avoid costs.