Brexit looks set to dominate the news headlines in 2017 with Teresa May set to invoke article 50 in March.
The economic fallout will be hard to ascertain in the short-run, but uncertainty surrounding the future performance of any economy never yields positive results, on balance. That’s been true throughout modern history.
Many are citing economic ambiguity as a means for businesses to ‘batten down the hatches’ in terms of spend across all areas, including B2B content marketing.
Here at Retail Week Connect, however, we believe that the choppy economic waters ahead can be mitigated by an engaging, content-rich approach to B2B marketing efforts.
This view is supported by empirical evidence. A study by market research firm Millward Brown into the 2008 financial crisis – looking at the performance of the S&P 500 Index – and its aftermath showed that those businesses with a strong brand performed far better than those who didn’t invest in their brand.
More specifically for the retail community, the balance between driving profitability through increased investment or via reducing costs will be a topical, and sometimes controversial, conversation throughout the course of 2017.
The level of fixed costs is likely to be adjusted downwards by many retailers this year, in face of looming cost inflation on the horizon – driven by currency fluctuations following the referendum vote and other inflationary considerations such as national living wage.
But this likely means retailers will be more willing to allocate resources to bringing greater variable cost into the business – cost generally attributed to spend with suppliers, to ensure these retailers can respond to customer needs and expectations in an agile manner.
And this is the key message here. Just because the future is uncertain from an economic standpoint doesn’t mean that retailers are going to rest on their laurels and not spend with suppliers over the coming year. Opportunity still exists.
The role of suppliers to the retail community is therefore only going to grow in importance as retailers struggle to cope with demands of consumers and the stresses and strains of running dated operating models.
In this context, the role of B2B content marketing to showcase to retailers how the supplier community can help them respond to (let’s face it) elevated customer expectations around the retail offer has never been as important in the face of the challenges expected in 2017.