Well, what a week. What a year! So much has happened this week in British politics and yet nothing has changed: we’re no nearer an understanding of what to expect next spring. Plus c’est la même chose.

With the year drawing to an end and so much of the detail and the spirit of our EU departure still to be agreed, it is at once vitally important and extremely difficult to know which way to jump. For consumers and businesses alike, uncertainty is never constructive. For marketers, this presents a challenge: in times of uncertainty marketing budgets are often the easiest to trim, at exactly the moment that getting new business through the door is more essential than ever. With all this in mind, we thought now might be an apposite moment to add a few more words to the howling Brexit noise and sketch out some thoughts on how best to market with uncertainty if things get harder next year.

1. Be available when consumers are in market

The consumer owns the journey, so letting them control your touchpoints is always going to be cheaper than trying to force the issue. If your brand is available to in-market consumers, in the right place and at the right time, there’s an opportunity to minimise wastage. In this context always-on media come into their own: with paid search, in particular, advertisers can speak only to people who are actively in market and pay only when it works. Used properly, this is a medium that can genuinely weather poor macroeconomic conditions.

2. Be reactive

In a volatile market, the capacity to pivot is invaluable. Measure everything (check it twice…) and be prepared to optimise across channels, move money to where it will work hardest, and generally refine as you go. In a tough market, book-it-and-leave-it is a criminally missed opportunity. Having a single-view reporting system and checking real-time analysis against pre-defined KPIs are essential to delivering optimal return on investment.

3. Work every last lead

Proper lead management is even more important when the cost of getting the lead in the first place has been forced up by uncertain macroeconomic conditions. Segmentation of a database is essential, to reduce unsubscribes and to ensure that people are engaged with on the basis of their area of interest, their position in the sales process, their budget and so on. The average quality of a lead will rise in a tougher market: if somebody has braved the economic maelstrom, declared an interest and handed you their phone number, it’s definitely going to be worth calling them back.

4. Optimise your owned media

When paid activity is under scrutiny, making owned media work as hard as possible is essential: if the volume of people visiting your website decreases, providing a sub-optimal experience for those who do make it there is self-defeating. The same is true in the bricks and mortar world: a disappointing experience at one of your outlets is all the more damaging when visitors are harder to come by.

5. Get the best advice

Since we’re in the business of giving advice, this one is hardly surprising. But when times are tough it makes sense to work with an agency which has a broad view of your sector and a wealth of experience and third-party tools to put at your disposal.

This is why we’re bringing a range of data experts to our Always-On Property event on Wednesday 30th January, opening the floor to experts from Hitwise, Mintel and Google. We will be sharing insights about the challenges and opportunities faced by property developers in 2019 and we’d love for you to join us.


Ed Hill, Managing Partner