It seems you can’t even pop out to Pret these days without the uncertainty surrounding Brexit spoiling your lunch. Three years after we voted to leave, we’re apparently no nearer the exit door or any clearer in our understanding of what will happen if and when we finally go through it.
It’s easy to see why that uncertainty is holding businesses back, particularly when it comes to marketing spend. Brands are understandably reluctant to play fast and loose with their budgets when the full implications to their owners of leaving the European Union are so sketchy.
Marketing – always the first to go
Marketing of course is traditionally the first to feel the cool metal of the axe when any cut is announced. Seen by many boards as a frivolous luxury compared to the ‘essential’ functions a business must invest in to survive, its budget and headcount tend to shrink as rapidly as they grow in boom times.
In that respect, the caution and fear in the air since the referendum have made Brexit feel akin to a recession to many, especially those who remember the aftermath of the financial meltdown in 2008.
Which creates one thing for the brave and savvy marketer: opportunity.
For businesses who see their marketing as intrinsically linked to success as their sales or operations, the idea of snapping the link between those three functions now would be rather like suggesting to a Season 5 Walter White that he go back to High School chemistry teaching.
Fortune favours the brave
They would refer you instead to the countless success stories of businesses who bucked the trend by tackling the recession head on. While their competitors were busy battening down the hatches and living off tinned goods, these guys were feasting on the market share left out in the open.
They had the courage to stare down the storm, diversify their client base and were prepared to assume a calculated level of risk to do so. There’s no doubt that business favours the bold.
We say Brexit is no different.
And if you’re marketing your goods or services to customers here in the UK or exporting them abroad where the weak pound is making them more affordable, then the size of the opportunity for you isn’t just big. It’s a hundred storeys high with a rooftop bar and helipad.
Be a snowball
What does that positive attitude mean for the way you communicate? It means letting everyone know that you’re oozing optimism and confidence about the future. Every piece of content you put out, every message you land is an opportunity to show that you’re in control and making the future your own. That’s the kind of confidence that inspires and attracts. It draws great people towards you – not just clients but employees – in a snowballing of momentum that can only bring more success.
As a business, you probably already have a good understanding of how Brexit is likely to affect your clients, existing or prospective. So trade on it. Tailor your response to address their fears and apprehensions. Make yourself the answer, whether it’s as a cost-effective solution to an expected future problem or as an essential service that will become even more so as the reality of life outside the European Union kicks in.
A good agency will pay for itself
Advising on developing a sound pre- and post-Brexit strategy is where the expertise of a marketing agency can pay for itself. In fact, the act of appointing a strategic partner could be one of the smartest moves you can make in the current climate.
Compared to the cost of staffing and de-staffing a marketing department, paying an agency retainer can make real financial sense. Keep your marketing in-house and the only way it can become more productive is through hiring new members to join your team. That’s a tactic that could leave you exposed should the worst happen and your company needs to make tough decisions in a hostile trading environment.
Easy access to expert talent
An agency, meanwhile, gives you rapid access to a ready-assembled pool of expert talent. Set against the cost of building your own team of comparable talent, it’s a snip. To many clients, the value of a good agency is at its highest and most compelling when the natural temptation is to shelve marketing plans and channel the budget elsewhere.
A modest and regular agency retainer insulates you from the expense of shrinking and regrowing your marketing team and reduces your exposure to high risk and cost. It helps with forecasting, while the agency continues to produce a return on your investment through the measurable, tangible results it produces.
Seize the initiative
It also means that while your competitors may be hunkering down in their shelters and waiting for the clouds to clear, you’ll always be just a phone call away from seizing the initiative and getting your message out there with a fraction of the noise to contend with.
So while appointing an agency might feel counter-intuitive to the risk averse, there is a powerful argument for doing so right now. In fact, if you’re in a marketplace that’s gone quiet pre-Brexit, it’s unlikely there’s ever been a better time to find a strategic partner who can help you capitalise on the unique opportunity that represents.
Catalyst is ready
At Catalyst, we’re already helping clients squeeze maximum value from their marketing spend. Our patented Growth Audit identifies the hidden potential in their operations and gears every function of their business to exploit them.
With none of the costs associated with hiring and firing your own team, and instant access to our digital strategists, designers and developers, we’re ready to add proven, performance-related value from the get-go.
Click here to book a meeting or arrange a Brexit-themed call with us.