Let me start by saying that I am not a financial expert (I am married to one though!). So we have been following the whole Brexit – will they or won’t they drama pretty closely. And, since I am often up in the middle of the night, I learned the outcome of the vote probably before most people in the US woke up to it. It is a staggering event, on quite a few levels. I’m reaching back into my International Politics background a bit for this post, so be warned…
There are tons of articles and posts out today outlining exactly what the implications of the Brexit will likely be on the world, both economically and politically. The truth is, no one really knows exactly what will happen. No one can predict all of the consequences, both intended and unintended, that this move will bring about. But one thing is for sure, we are headed into a period of international chaos and it is not going to be resolved quickly. The immediate aftermath, at the time of the writing of this post, has been a collapse of the British pound and massive sell-offs in global markets – none of which are good for the economy at large.
Businesses very often claim that they make moves or do not make moves due to “uncertainty” in market strength, the regulatory environment and political landscapes. Well, get ready for this to “go to eleven” in the immortal words of Spinal Tap. This is not going to get sorted out any time soon. Actually exiting the EU is going to be a long process. Scotland is talking about holding another independence vote in the aftermath. Other EU countries are certainly calculating the moves they should make to protect themselves as individual nations first and protect the EU as in institution second. All of the potential scenarios honestly give me a raging headache.
So, how should this impact your PPC strategies?
I can see some of you thinking, “it won’t because my accounts are all US based”. Well, wake up and buckle up because we are very likely headed into rough economic waters here too. And when the economy falters or if there are major fears in the air about a major falter or worse, a recession, most organizations snap into a much more reactive mode. For some it is truly necessary. If their particular industry gets killed in this economic shake up, they will need to take a hard look at all of their marketing efforts, including PPC. But for the majority of industries, who might feel stress but who are not in mortal danger of their businesses ending, many will want to retreat, at least for a while.
This is almost always a mistake. For those of you who were working in PPC during the economic meltdown of 2008, you will have seen this before. For those who were not, now is a really great time to expand your relationships with your clients beyond just account management into a role of trusted advisor. Clients will all react to this situation differently, but if you react proactively, you can not only help them be in the best position possible in the paid search space, but also potentially help them to better weather the coming storm. Trust me when I tell you that kind of service builds immense amounts of trust and respect.
Where to start?
- Watch your accounts very closely over the coming days and note any shifts you see
- Pay close attention to financial stories about the fallout that is happening now and what is predicted to happen
- Pay close attention to news about clients’ industries
- Monitor what your clients’ competitors are doing in reaction to the situation
- Proactively contact your clients with a summary of what you’re seeing and what you recommend as next steps to preserve (or even improve) their PPC position
- Be prepared to handle individual clients differently – some will be nonplussed by this, others will be freaking out and others unaware or uninterested – adjust your strategy for them accordingly
- Be a resource and provide quick updates when you have useful information to share about ways the digital advertising realm is being impacted
Look for Opportunities
It may seem cold or ruthless to look to capitalize on others’ troubles, but that is sometimes part of our job. Closely monitoring competition is so important right now and in the foreseeable future as this plays itself out. If you see competitors scaling back, let your clients know there is opportunity to seize marketshare. If you see competitors ramping up their efforts to try to steal your clients’ marketshare, let them know as soon as you see it happening. Be prepared to help them adjust their thinking as circumstances shift. PPC is never “set it and forget it” but with times getting turbulent, it will require closer management.
Pay attention to the general climate too. Now is a great time to start following some business news outfits on Twitter so you can at least see headlines about the situation. The Economist, The Wall Street Journal Real Time Economics, The Financial Times are a good place to start. The more you know the better you can be prepared with proper strategy recommendations.
Become a Resource
Don’t be afraid to share insights you gain from other accounts (this is good advice generally). If you are seeing trends happening in accounts across industries, do a quick write up and share that information with your clients. Sometimes this information is to be acted upon and sometimes it is just to be known. Show your expertise and your added value by putting things into context for your clients. For example, if after a few weeks you are seeing a sharp trend in competitive behaviors, share that information with your clients. Let them know you’re looking out for them in a macro sense. In most cases they will really appreciate the extra level of service.
What are your thoughts about all of this? Is the Brexit something you will pay attention to relative to your PPC accounts? If you worked during the 2008 crash – any words of wisdom to share that apply now? As always, sound off in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@NeptuneMoon).