recession-proofing your customers

How to Recession-Proof Your Customers

It’s about keeping your closest customers even closer.

Most of my week last week was spent at the annual NRF event in New York meeting with, interviewing, demo-ing and listening to some of the brightest people and companies in the world and a handful of themes bubbled up.  Of course, AI was a part of almost every conversation.  Not only ChatGPT but also how creative applications of AI are about to change how retailers, marketers – let’s face it – how business does business.

But one other theme was just as loud and clear even though it was not on full display.  Everyone from the analysts, and economists, to the vendors and the brands themselves were peppering their conversations with the idea that a recession is either here or is about to be here.  It could be a soft recession or maybe not an official recession at all, but between the economic indicators and the massive number of layoffs in tech (and related industries), the idea that we are facing a slowdown is fast becoming a reality.

So, what’s a brand to do?

Over the next several weeks we’ll be publishing a number of articles on that subject.  We’ve tapped a handful of minds who can speak to the strategies needed to weather economic uncertainties.  They’ll have bylines in TheCustomer and will also be presenting (and co-presenting) a series of webinars that will go beyond strategy and get straight into the tactics, the technologies, and even some of the change-management you’re likely to face in upcoming months.

It’s time to start thinking defensively.

The way we see it, it’s time to become defensive and make sure that your competition isn’t siphoning off your customers. Instead, it’s time to invest in enriching those relationships.  Acquisition budgets (media, tech, employees) are being slashed so the most strategic thing marketers in any industry can do in this environment is to focus on defense.  Protect your most precious asset.  Offensive spending was yesterday.  Today, we have to protect and nurture / grow what we have.  

We’re still in the process of finalizing the editorial calendar for this effort but here are the major thrusts you’ll be hearing more about:

  • Budget reallocations are a thing:  How to, and where to spend your remaining budget.
  • Doing more with less: leveraging technology to get the most out of your existing assets.
  • Specific retention strategies: If there was ever a time to shore up retention, this is it.  We’ll show you how.
  • Better retention through CX: Doubling down on what actually works and shedding efforts that don’t.
  • Customer insight just became critical: Knowing what your customer expects has always been the brass ring. Now it’s everything.
  • Customer loyalty might just be your most effective weapon: How to keep your closest customers even closer.
  • We’ll also be featuring presentations from technology providers with solutions that are specifically geared toward retention and enrichment efforts.

By the way, because this is an ongoing series, if you or your company would like to contribute to this effort in any way, please reach out to me.  There are thousands of brands that would very much like to hear from you.

It’s worth mentioning that, in conversation with some of the retail OG’s (I had to look it up too) last week, none of them were sounding the alarm, and nobody was panicked.  Having been through these kinds of times before, they each had their own way of saying “this, too, shall pass” – the trick is to make it through to the other side.

Personally, I’m not panicked about it either.  We just emerged from a pandemic which, as awful as it was for so many people and organizations, showed us all what resilience really looks like.  May this recession (or whatever you want to call it) be a cakewalk for you.  In the meantime, stay close because we’ve got lots of guidance and good ideas forthcoming.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

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