When faced with sudden cause for concern or uncertainty about the future, human nature is to take one of three approaches: “fight,” “flight,” or “freeze.” We know from experience that businesses and brands are no different.  Not every approach is right for every brand, but regardless of where your brand sits, you can still succeed amidst the unpredictability as long as you know how to choose what to do, where to focus, and how to win. Below we break down the three different scenarios: 1. Fight : If your brand falls into the “fight” scenario, you have the opportunity to take advantage of and leverage the current impact of the situation at hand. In the current scenario, you are likely a company that can offer something to consumers delivered right to their door.
  • What to do: Increase branding presence through quick new customer acquisition.
  • Where to focus: Lean into top funnel marketing initiatives and build your customer base.
  • How to win:
    • Leverage platforms that do not require asset creation or long turnaround times:
      • Create custom affiliate programs with short term benefits to partners
      • Sink investment into dynamic ads across search and social, and display prospecting to consumer led queries
      • Experiment in new channels where you haven’t explored in the past that don’t require high production value - this is a chance to deliver time sensitive messages to consumers in a new environment.
2. Flight: In this scenario, you know your supply chain has already been impacted, and you’re ready to face the reality that inventory will inevitably be unavailable in the near future.
  • What to do: Pull back on top funnel marketing and pull irrelevant marketing messages to reallocate budget to relevant lower funnel initiatives where consumer engagement has already been proven. 
  • Where to focus: Hone in on messaging that supports consumer led marketing in the middle funnel, and max out the budget in the bottom of the funnel.
  • How to win:
    • Use inventory scarcity as an opportunity to collect customer data. Need more contact information for future marketing initiatives? Invite customers to let you get back to them via e-mail or text as soon as their favorite product is back in stock.
    • While the bottom funnel typically focuses on product creative, try more branded assets that are not product specific and cover a wider product assortment for future flexibility.
3. Freeze : If there are no signs of impact from uncertainty, and you can’t see any in your future, stay the course but start thinking about what to do if impact does happen.  
  • What to do: Stay steady and avoid any “knee-jerk” decisions, but make sure there is easy flexibility built in to your marketing strategy, and be mindful of your messaging.
  • Where to focus
    • At JD, we budget using “waterfall budgeting,” a technique that uses AI to prioritize budgets across channels in real time based on goals, making the marketing strategy as efficient as possible. 
    • Keep messaging and creative simple, and be conscious of the times. 
  • How to win:
    • Plan marketing in a tiered way so you already know at least three different scenarios and how you will tackle them. You have the luxury of time to make sure you are prepared, so using it wisely is your best step forward
    • Be prepared with what it looks like when you miss on a goal:
      • Know which channels to cut first
      • Incorporate flexibility into your contracts
      • Have back-up flexibility built assets

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