You would have to be living in a hole at the bottom of a well in a deserted monastery not to have heard anything about the actual, potential and imagined woes of Brexit. Whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, British businesses need to take some immediate practical steps to ensure that they survive Brexit and beyond.
Nick Evans, Chairman of ExtraMile Communications Ltd, the international digital marketing agency, takes a look at 8 ways that strategic marketing initiatives could help your business survive Brexit and what he feels your company needs to do to be “Brexilient”:
(1) Make the most of your data. The recent EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was seen by many companies as a threat, destroying their valuable databases. However, the truth is that GDPR has done us all a favour. It’s allowed you to focus on the people who actually gave you permission to talk to them – you’ve heard of “permission marketing”? – and those people are gold dust. They want to hear from you and all of your marketing activity that is focused at them will reap better open and click rates with stronger sell-through than any dead and dying contacts in dusty old databases could do.
So cultivate your data, pay attention to it, build it organically and extend each record with new information that you glean from all of your sales and marketing activity. What do they buy, what interests them, where are their markets, what do they need? And aim to tailor your marketing to address those areas so that what you send to them speaks directly to the things they are thinking about. There are technology tools that can help you do exactly this.
(2) Develop a coherent campaign strategy that addresses individual needs. Following on from the previous point, the more you can personalise your message to your subscribers, clients and prospects, the more they will believe that you understand them (because, actually, you do understand them, when you have built good datasets). Create marketing campaigns that address people individually, speaking to their needs and aspirations. This sort of activity is now much easier, where campaigns can be built that use conditional content to personalise email newsletters and even the content of web pages as known visitors arrive on them.
(3) Leverage existing materials, case studies and video. Those pieces of information that were developed by you a while ago in order to demonstrate the wonders of your products, services and solutions – they’re no use lying in the back of someone’s computer storage. Dust them off, update them, focus them and make them work for you. You paid for them back then – now squeeze some more juice out of them.
Consider also commissioning some new materials. How can you best demonstrate what your products or services do? Are there new ways of pressing “buy buttons” on people that you were not aware of a year or so back? Speak to your sales team and see what they need. See how they would do this – and then use that knowledge with a trusted supplier to build new materials and content.
(4) Develop quality content and focus on new and existing markets. Content is king – that’s been said so often, but it bears saying again. Get your website content to a position where it helps your ranking on search engines. You need to invest in a programme of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – to make sure that your potential clients are visiting your site and not that of your competitors. Get advice on how to do this from experts, then target that content towards the people you most want to see it, using techniques such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising, social media advertising, remarketing and more.
(5) Look at your markets. Is it time to look for new opportunities, new places to sell your products and services? Have you been comfortable with the same group of clients in the same market sector for many years? They produce a reliable source of income and they’re safe. Are they? How will Brexit affect your clients – do you know? Do they know? Perhaps consider where you could sell to next – similar markets in another area, new markets in your existing area. Can your products or services be adapted or combined to create something new that will appeal to a whole new group of companies?
(6) Think internationally, if you are not already doing so. Just because Brexit seems to be about closing the doors to our traditional market partners doesn’t mean that you will not be able to trade there. Consider also that the “rest of the world” marketplace is open for business. How would you sell to China, for example? To Australia? To Canada? If you’ve not thought of going international, now’s a great time to do so – speak with your local advisers from the Department for International Trade, or to companies that assist others with getting their message beyond the borders of the UK and understand opportunities for growth outside of domestic markets.
(7) Embrace new technology opportunities. There’s a world of change going on out there in the form of digital transformation. Investigate what this means for your business: how you win business, do business, make products, optimise staff efficiency and develop your market. Every aspect of your business can be and is being affected by the fourth industrial revolution.
In terms of marketing and sales tools, take advice on how you can attract customers more effectively with new digital techniques, utilising AI tools that make more of your existing data and help you to target your marketing more precisely. Learn how investment in digital tools can make your sales team more efficient and can coordinate your project management more cost-effectively.
(8) Be open to new ideas. And this really is the main one, since it embraces all the others. Consider recruiting bright young minds who will break what you do now and rebuild it in a whole new way. It sounds scary, but no one ever built a business by doing the same old thing, year after year.
So armed with these suggestions it’s time to face the storm, put on your glittering Cloak of Confidence and show the world that your company will not only survive Brexit – it will grow and be a market leader in your region, in the country, internationally. The world’s at your feet so plan. Get a strategy together. Innovate. Go in a direction you’d not thought of previously. Make waves. Invest and be damned … and be Brexilient.
If you need any further advice we have a dedicated team of experts who can advise on and implement digital marketing strategies, search engine marketing and public relations campaigns to drive your business forward. Simply get in touch with ExtraMile Communications.
Or if you want more information about any of the topics covered here then a great one-stop shop is ExtraMile Communications’ blog.
Nick Evans is Chairman of ExtraMile Communications, which he set up in 2000 with Gabrielle Hadley (Managing Director). ExtraMile is an international digital marketing agency that provides multilingual services in web design and development, email marketing, Search Engine Marketing and PR to companies large and small. (www.extramilecommunications.com)
Previously, Nick was Head of Marketing for Apple Education and before that, had a career in sales and marketing after being a school teacher in the North East of England. He has a long history of working in and with technology, in education, in marketing and in business. He is a published author with titles in topics including business development, education software and, latterly, a venture into teen fiction.