The Paid Searcher's Guide To Brexit

By Kelly Pollock | @kelpollock | Account Director at Hanapin Marketing

As Britain researches using Google to fully realize the impact of their recent vote, marketers are following their lead by searching the impact Brexit will have on our economy. To be sure, when economic uncertainty is heightened, tightening of purse strings can be felt around the globe.

Experts speculate a recessive trend is likely, though it won’t necessarily be a direct response to Great Britain receding from the EU. Decreases in spending, both by consumers and businesses, will be a reaction to uncertainty while a 2-year process to split becomes final. Mike Watkins, head of retail and business insights for Nielsen UK was quoted saying, “Brands should brace for an impact on consumer spending.” Generally, the UK only makes up 3.6% of global merchant imports and 4.1% of commercial imports. What impact this will have on our cyclical and secular horizons in paid search remain to be seen.

See The Risk As An Opportunity To Educate

Similar to trends in UK Search, many of us find ourselves “Googling” the impact Brexit might have on our job as marketers. Typical questions raised in the paid search industry include:

  • How will the landscape change?
  • Will costs rise?
  • Will budgets be cut?

While the effects are in a state of uncertainty, I can’t help but to think of that old saying, “If you can’t change a situation, change your mind.” In this situation, we cannot change the impending global impact Brexit will have economically. What we can do is proactively influence customers, bosses, and clients to have a better understanding of what we do as paid search marketers and how we contribute to business goals.

I’ve read several articles regarding how investors are approaching Brexit. While I am no financial expert, my favorite quote to date comes from Scott Hanson, co-CEO of Hanson McClain Advisors. Hanson states,

Many of the worst investment mistakes I’ve seen have originated from an overreaction to the unknown. It has always been my philosophy that slow and steady wins the day.

So, how does this quote apply to marketers and how can we apply to how we manage our paid search campaigns?

Hanson gives investors a four-point strategy that I have revised to fit our world of marketing.

1. Don’t React By Selling Anything

For marketers, this can be applied by monitoring the landscape for change, but not making any changes to your programs or accounts based on the limited data we have available a week out.

2. Look For Opportunities

Approach marketing programs and the topic of economical changes with a positive attitude. Research competition, market trends and don’t follow suit, but take advantage of the changing landscape by increasing your share of the market.

3. Analyze How Much Of Your Portfolio Is At Risk

With the value of the pound continuing to slide we know that major brands are concerned. This doesn’t mean your brands have reason to be. Discuss Brexit and the impact it may have on your business, product or service. It may be significant or it may not. Discussing it will show you are engaged and forward thinking when it comes to how to best handle impacts to paid channels.

4. Relax

Relax, stay on top of both economical and industry trends and share your findings. Those around will appreciate it and you will position yourself as a resource so that if the time does come, and marketing budgets are cut, decision makers will see the advantage of maintaining their current paid budgets.

Final Thoughts

Change is almost always inevitable. However, in our fast-paced and volatile industry where we are accustomed to frequent change, the uncertainties of Brexit should be nothing more than a new set of trends we must monitor and adjust accordingly.

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