Marketing

Adaptive Business Strategy: Content Marketing in Economic Downturns

Adaptive Business Strategy
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The past few years brought unprecedented market changes that businesses weren’t really prepared to handle. Even after we’ve somewhat returned to the “new normal,” shifts in supply chain distribution, technology, and how people live and work have caused some industries to win big and others to lose horribly.

So, what can you do? If you want your business not just to survive but actually thrive, you’ll need to accept that market changes are a fact of life. You can’t avoid them, but you can take action to bolster your business against those that may take a bite out of your bottom line. One plan is to produce excellent marketing content.

What is an adaptive business strategy?

What is an adaptive business strategy?

An adaptive business strategy is a plan to achieve long-term, large-scale goals through smaller, proactive, and less risky measures. A good adaptive business strategy is made up of tiny steps that can be easily adjusted to meet market demands or new financial challenges.

That’s why those who implement it are able to deal with market changes in a way that doesn’t derail their entire business mission or overarching goals.

How content marketing supports an adaptive business strategy

Digital content can play a vital role in an adaptive business strategy since it’s flexible and can be scaled up and down without significant changes to the business. It’s common for businesses with a small marketing budget and few in-house content creators to outsource through agencies or freelancers.

This allows them the talent and technical support needed to get content out quickly in the case of a large content need, but without the commitment hiring new employees would entail.

Scaling up and down is simpler when outsourcing, and it can also preserve your brand reputation when you aren’t forced to lay off talent during a scaling-down response to the market.

How to adapt to changes in the market with your content

How to adapt to changes in the market with your content

So, you’ve found yourself in the middle of another big market upheaval. Whether it’s a market recession causing you to have to price your product higher or an industry change has made your top product or service impractical during difficult times, you do have options.

These strategies for content are useful at any point but are especially vital when trying to survive sudden and dramatic market shifts.

1. Don’t overreact.

It can be easy to fall prey to reports of a collapsing economy or a major legal decision that changes your industry for good. Until you know for sure that it will affect your business, don’t make any major changes to your content.

Yes, you can plan for the worst, but don’t change anything that you can’t change back later. Give any new market news time while you figure out what it really means for you.

2. Listen to your customers. 

People are more vocal about their concerns than ever before. They share their bad flight experiences on Twitter and gush over that amazing ice cream sundae on Instagram. Now is the time to double down on efforts to track mentions of your product and those in your industry.

Be aware of their new, possibly bigger pain points so that you can adjust your brand messaging to match.

3. Be ready to push new ideas.

While a market recession or other large shift isn’t the most secure time to take risks, it may be the right time to launch something new that’s tested and scheduled to launch at a later date, anyway.

Customers may not respond to the same old products and services, and market changes can cause customers to become anxious about buying anything they don’t need.

However, something truly new to the market will certainly earn buzz and could help drive enough sales to help you overcome the slow months. If nothing else, it will give your teams something new and exciting to work on during this uncertain season and may help build morale in difficult times.

4. Refresh old content

Finally, now is a really great time to take care of existing investments by giving old content some TLC. Try updating old blog posts with new details, fresh graphics, and some much-needed SEO optimization. Revamp that lead magnet ebook from three years ago with new tips to survive a recession.

Repurpose what you can, paying close attention to best practices for reworking one piece of content into several. (Pull out quotable tweets from that best-performing article or use the stats from your white paper as your next engaging infographic.) if you’ve been putting off a content refresh, this is an ideal time to get it done.

Why content should be the last thing to go during a market shift

Why content should be the last thing to go during a market shift

If you are facing hardships with your business due to factors beyond your control (like the market), it may be your first instinct to buckle down and cut costs. This makes sense, but your content marketing budget is something you’ll want to preserve for a bit longer.

Why? Content is the lifeline from your business to your customer. When bad things happen or the market changes, customers want answers, and they will search out the brands and businesses they love for information they need or solutions to help them get through.

If you stop communicating with your customers, it could leave them confused, and uncertain about what your offer is, or if you are even relevant in their lives.

By continually creating content that fits the changing environment, you tell the consumer a few things:

  • You are still there. New content, even if not as frequent or elaborate, lets them know you have a “pulse” and that you are going to stick around for a while. This helps them trust you at a time when other businesses in your industry may be shuttered.
  • You have what they need. People may not be ready to buy, but they may need information. By continuing to produce content, you are creating value in their lives. This matters later on, when the markets change again, and they find themselves with some extra cash and a need to spend it.

One other major consideration is the message. If you stop creating content, you are no longer controlling the message about your brand, your industry, and your response to market changes. By creating content, you get to own the message and create your own story.

You aren’t being passive while those around you talk about your brand or industry. This is powerful and a big reason to keep making content that matters.

How to outsource the right way

How to outsource the right way

Remember how we shared that outsourcing can be a huge benefit when scaling up and down quickly during uncertain times? It’s still a solid plan for market changes, provided you don’t take risks with unproven agencies or freelancers.

One way to ensure every penny goes to quality content is to work with agencies that have a track record of helping brands during difficult times. Look to see who was creating compelling content during the pandemic, for example, as they will be one to watch.

ClearVoice has a team of experienced SMEs and freelancers who have been through industry changes and know what will work. Consider reaching out for a content plan that can work with your budget fluctuations and changing priorities.

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About the author

Linsey Knerl