The Essential Qualities of an Outstanding Agency Partner in Challenging Economic Times

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Published: February 6, 2023

Author: Laura Colton

During a recession, the right agency partner can be invaluable. We’ll outline the benefits agencies can offer that are most important during an economic downturn to stay ahead and emerge stronger than ever.

Invest in a Culture of Innovation

Even if businesses slow down, that doesn’t mean innovation has to. Stretches of economic uncertainty serve as the opportune time to introduce more affordable solutions, present unique or niche offerings, invest in technology that provides a more seamless customer experience, or make strategic moves that set you up for the future.

Create a culture of innovation and find smarter ways to collaborate and share knowledge. While the gut reaction to a recession might be to freeze and step back, it’s the time to move forward and transform today’s setbacks into tomorrow’s opportunities.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Brand

Now is the time to take inventory of your brand and assess everything from messaging to visual identity to ensure that everything is consistent. Double down on what’s working, pull back on what’s not yielding solid results, and take stock of what needs to improve. Implement a brand “health check” to ensure that you’re set up for success in the long run:

  • Re-evaluate your positioning and value proposition to ensure that you’re targeting the right people with the right product and service.
  • Don’t alienate your audience with out-of-touch messages. Update your messaging so your brand sounds more human, relatable, and empathetic. The most compelling stories that convert are purpose-driven content that resonates deeply with your audience.
  • To maximize impact, ensure that you’re evaluating the right metrics and are making data-driven insights based on the metrics that matter.
  • Assess every touchpoint for a better customer experience and determine if you can pivot your services or products to meet current demands.
  • Focus on channels that have established performance benchmarks that can be optimized to best influence customers across their buyer journey.

Take Advantage of the Data

Agencies have considerable data across their client portfolios to help them benchmark and obtain a comprehensive view of emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities. Agencies with a robust portfolio can also segment insights and provide clients with more data. One of the best ways agencies can equip their clients with valuable insights is by sharing real-time interactive dashboards so that marketing teams can optimize their efforts, expose existing weaknesses, and uncover potential growth opportunities. Reporting that helps visualize your team’s performance and outcomes can also be essential in helping leaders realize your team’s value.

Ask your agency to give context on where your industry is heading and how you should position yourself for the most significant competitive advantage moving forward. Utilize your agency’s data to understand the big picture and if you’re set up for long-term success.

Retain Loyal Customers

In a downturn, brand loyalty matters more than ever. Customer retention is less expensive than customer acquisition and is the best source for steady income and growth. In fact, it’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers as opposed to retaining current customers. Despite this, many brands continue to focus most of their time and money on acquiring new customers as opposed to retaining them. A little food for thought: If you can increase retention by just 5%, revenue has been shown to grow between 25-95%.

During uncertain times, people want to rely on a consistent customer experience. Instill confidence in your existing customers by exceeding expectations, continuing to offer value, and maintaining a meaningful connection. Messaging and branding should be consistent across all channels and touchpoints to provide a positive, personalized experience.

Continue to build long-term relationships with customers and identify what appeals to them most about today’s products and services. When prospects are ready to buy again and spend more, your brand will be top of mind, and returning customers will continue coming back for more.

Embrace a Wide Range of Capabilities

As marketers adapt to tighter budgets and doing more with less, agencies with a broad array of capabilities across creative, media, and production allow access to more services within one engagement and fully integrated teams for increased collaboration and higher performance. Working with an agency that provides solutions and services to a wide range of industries can also bring a new and unique perspective.

Brands that are agile, proactive, and willing to pivot are the ones that will endure and are in the best position for growth. Make sure you have a strong partnership with an agency that has strong, adaptable capabilities, focuses on your goals, and is flexible and growth-driven to navigate any economic downturn. Learn more about how 3Q/DEPT can recession-proof your brand.

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