Sedge Beswick, CEO and founder of SEEN Connects, the innovative influencer marketing agency
There are picket lines up and down the country, inflation at a 40-year high and energy bills skyrocketing. Just as we emerge from the pandemic’s ‘new normal’, we’ve been smacked in the face by a cost of living crisis with all arrows pointing towards a recession. Now, tell me, these aren’t unprecedented times.
At the innovative influencer marketing agency SEEN Connects, which I founded six years ago, we’ve been watching the news closely. Shocker. For one, this crisis will affect every single one of our clients, but also, and importantly, my whole team too. We’re lucky to be in a safe position – our business model for our clients, which include eBay, Panasonic and LVMH, is based on a marketing method where every damn pixel is trackable. This means we can create and prove ROI in every one of our influencer and celebrity led campaigns.
We, like everyone else, will have to face this crisis with a plan to support the areas that are going to be hit the hardest. Just like in March 2020 when the world spun in a new direction, my leadership team and I sat down and came up with a series of steps to take control of our course.
At Connects, we’re powered by personality, which means we are nothing without our team. As much as we can financially support them and counter the inflation surge, we will, but we also know that there’s more to a job than pay.
Always make sure your team are taking and using their holiday. Even if travel is a cost too far, we all need recharge our batteries from time to time. Secondly, even if you’re putting promotions on pause, don’t cut off their training, development, or coaching. Your team needs to know you support them and want them to grow, this is a crystal-clear signal that you care and believe in them.
You think this is hard, think again of your finance team. Now is the time to get on top of dept, ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and that you’ve got finance lined up in case clients pay late.
On the topic of clients, when you bag a lead, audit it. Plus, make new business everyone’s business. Inspire your account handlers to become a sales force, upskill them if necessary so they have all the arsenal they need to sell your services.
New business is important but so is old – take care of your clients. Look after them by proving and focusing on their ROI. Their budgets are likely to be scrutinised more than ever, so don’t give them any reason to cutback.
At Connects, we like to be proactive, giving clients ideas of spaces they can manoeuvre into and ways to grow their campaigns, as well as insights into their wider sector. But as good as it is to inspire, make sure you’re always bringing your A-Game. You want to win, so make sure your new clients feel that. And, when you don’t? Get feedback…even when it’s hard to hear. Push hard for why you haven’t won the work and what can be done to never let this happen again.
If you must adapt, do. As long as you know your USP inside out, who your customer is and how viable their future is, you’ll be able to pivot when you need to. My advice would be to move fast but don’t make rash decisions.
Keep your head up, you’ve got this!