Double Down on Proven Lead Drivers

MARKETING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES: Hitesh Singh, Global Growth Marketing Lead at Singapore-based BandLab Technologies advises marketers to look at dialling back vanity metrics that look impressive but don't directly impact growth.

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  • BandLab is a leading digital music creation and collaboration platform that empowers musicians and artists worldwide that boasts of over 60 million users.

    In his role, Hitesh Singh, Global Growth Marketing Lead at Singapore-based BandLab Technologies is responsible for developing and executing a predictable and scalable digital customer acquisition model to drive the growth of BandLab’s user base, targeting key markets such as the US, EMEA, and SEA.

    We spoke to him about how marketers can target growth while withstanding changing economic conditions, and evolving customer preferences, and how price and empathy can be powerful modes to add authenticity when connecting with users. 

    Full interview;  

    What advice would you give business leaders to adjust your pricing and promotional strategies to stay competitive while maintaining profitability during economic downturns?

    For me as a marketeer testing & learning are the backbone of staying competitive, launching small-scale pilot programmes to gauge response to prices and offers. 

    Measure results, feedback, and market conditions to determine optimal strategies, most importantly to remain nimble and willing to shift gears to find the best avenues amidst fluctuation. 

    During economic downturns, it is essential to stay attuned to shifts in consumer demand as consumers become more price-sensitive and discerning with purchases. 

    • Sales data, website analytics, and customer surveys become a gold mine to understand changes in preferences, values, and budgets, these data insights will allow leaders to modify offerings to align with what customers need most.  
    • Avoid across-the-board discounts which erode brand value, instead, consider targeted promotions that underscore the tangible benefits customers gain and optimise price-value perception. 
    • Bundle high-demand items, offer bonus sizes/services, or create good/better/best package options anchored around a strong base value. Emphasise competitive differentiators, and lean into what makes your brand distinct rather than competing solely on price. 
    • Communicate support services, quality, curated selections, etc. that warrant prices and communicate differentiators in-store and online to justify prices and retain your loyal customers.

    How can marketing leaders prioritise marketing budgets, and how can they cut waste?

    This is a fantastic question and one that has so many right/wrong answers depending on your company’s KPIs and brand objectives. 

    Instead of just taking a cut right across the board traditionally in an economic downturn, I advise strategically prioritising initiatives that align with core business goals and provide the greatest return on investment and combing through your data rather than a profit-only approach.

    Begin by critically evaluating all current marketing programmes and activities. Which channels, campaigns, and projects are driving measurable value and revenue versus nice-to-haves? Consider halting or dialling back vanity metrics that look impressive but don’t directly impact growth. 

    Shift those funds to double down on proven lead drivers. Additionally, drill into performance at a granular level to spot and eliminate waste. Review the ROI of individual campaigns to ascertain where dollars are being misspent. Are certain keywords, creatives, segments, platforms, or partnerships failing to convert? Trim paid media budgets accordingly, and shift it to assets that resonate. Leverage available data, tools, and algorithms to maintain efficiency even with slimmer budgets. Automate menial tasks, personalise engagement, and let artificial intelligence guide decision-making where applicable. Stretch resources further by capitalising on tech-enabled optimisation.

    Marketing leaders must make deliberative tradeoffs in lean times. The goal is to redistribute budgets to initiatives that keep vision moving despite harsh realities. With strategic prioritisation grounded in facts, brands can do more with less during downturns.

    How can we approach communicating value and pricing to customers?

    I believe brands must approach communication with empathy, transparency, and a renewed focus on tangible value rather than perceived benefits, especially in testing times which affect customer wallets & loyalty directly.

    Rather than detached marketing messages, meet your audience where they are in reality, and acknowledge the economic realities they face while underscoring support and a commitment to delivering solutions, services and care that match the moment. Even when prices must increase or offers constrict, lay that out in understanding terms that contextualise the why behind these changes and highlight your brand promises. 

    Additionally, reorient messaging to spotlight actual benefits customers gain rather than features alone. What needs does your product or service address in customers’ new normal? How are you simplifying processes or addressing pain points? 

    Communicate clearly about outcomes versus assumptions, customers now demand greater clarity on why your solution merits spending compared to cheaper alternatives or offer-based consumption.

    I strongly believe leaders must infuse communications with humanity, not just transactions. Assure people you aim to assist them in achieving their goals amidst adversity. The customer relationship must feel grounded in empathy and partnership that transcends pricing structures alone. If trust and shared vision anchor the bond, temporary fluctuations become surmountable. Brands that lead with compassion and conscience can earn leeway if market forces necessitate course-correcting prices or offers. Keep stakeholders in the loop with transparency and talk in terms of shared values. Ultimately that connection proves priceless.

    How can one ensure flexibility and adaptability in marketing strategies to changing customer expectations?

    In trying times that dramatically shift consumer behaviour, the brands that will thrive are those attentive and agile enough to meet customers wherever they move next in their journeys. I am a firm believer in testing & learning often, even when results seem positive. Assumptions can prove faulty overnight amid volatility, running perpetual beta programs that allow refinement, and designing omnichannel experiences for continuity if certain platforms fade. Build-in options, not absolutes.

    Rather than build rigid annual plans, transition to more dynamic frameworks that can respond in real-time, we all remember the C-19 times when brands either pivoted or crumbled by continually monitoring analytics and sentiment indicators to detect changes as they emerge. Empower cross-functional teams to provide rapid input and coordinate responses across touchpoints when signals warrant. Most importantly, forge customer relationships rooted in mutual understanding, and proactively seek input through surveys and engagement. 

    Discover what they now desire, struggle with, or avoid, and co-create solutions tailored to evolving needs. This humanises the brand bond so as priorities shift, adapter marketing retains relevance with the presence of mind and operational dexterity, and brands can power through upheaval. By cementing flexible systems and customer empathy into practice, organisations can keep in stride with these fast-changing times.


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