Published On: Sat, Mar 30th, 2013

Succeeding Online in the Age of Austerity

How do you succeed online in the age of austerity? It’s a difficult question, especially with budgets contracting and trust in our institutions at historically low levels.

It’s my view that all communications activity should be geared towards generating trust. But trust is fragile. Just look at how the horse meat debacle, Lance Armstrong scandal and Cypriot banking fiasco played out and dented trust. As a result of events such as this, consumers are increasingly sceptical of businesses, institutions and leaders to do the right thing and keep their promises. People think the contract between business and society is in danger of breaking down.

Such scepticism is set against the backdrop of a fierce global recession and ongoing euro-zone crisis which has damaged consumer confidence and curbed spending. These factors combined mean that marketers are now working in an environment where they are being asked to do a huge job with diminishing resources. They are being tasked with a “more for less” brief and getting more bang for your marketing buck is no longer a “nice to have”, but a commercial imperative.

That’s enough about the environment, how can innovation and technology help you succeed online in the age of austerity?

The tech analysts favourite trio of social, mobile and big data have undoubtedly been the three disruptive technologies of recent time and will continue to be so in the coming years, however they need to now be considered in the context of contracting budgets. In the future marketers will need to think more like accountants. Function, return-on-investment (RoI) and data to help you measure activity will be key.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some green shoots, and digital marketing is perhaps best placed to deliver this “more for less brief” especially when you consider that:

  1. Digital budgets continue to be the perennial growth area
  2. People are now spending more time and money online
  3. Digital marketing has an exceptionally robust ROI framework

From talking to a range of business leaders, communications agencies, colleagues, friends, developers, academics and bloggers, as well as attending the launch of several big pieces of research I’ve identified the following trends to help you succeed online in the age of austerity:

  • Page view led newsroom
  • Stop trying to wow your customers
  • Rise of the marketing mathematician
  • Functionality, not fanfare
  • Personalised web

I’ll be publishing posts throughout the year addressing each concept in more detail, as well as opportunities, benefits, challenges and costs faced by businesses. In the meantime, here’s a deck explaining each in some more detail.

If you’d like me to talk about these trends at your event, explore how your business can adapt to them or just have a chat, then please do get in touch.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

Displaying 5 Comments
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  1. Viktor K. says:

    You wrote “I’ll be publishing posts throughout the year addressing each concept in more detail, as well as opportunities, benefits, challenges and costs faced by businesses.” Would you analyse social, digital, mobile and marketing opportunities for real estate brokerage business? I’ll appreciate it very much. Thanks in advance.

  2. Ben says:

    Hi Viktor, thanks for the comment – i’ll certainly bear the real estate industry in mind when I publish the posts this year.

  3. […] you ready for the personalised web? Earlier this year I highlighted it as a trend that businesses need to explore in order to get ahead and succeed […]

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  5. […] these tough economic times, more and more companies are looking for viable methods to reduce expenses, boost their profit […]

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