Letting Market Uncertainties Control Decisions Can Harm Brand Success

As we close out the year’s first quarter, all the prognosticators and forecasters in our industry are standing firm on their predictions for 2018. And, based on the energy and conversations coming out of some of the industry’s key shows, there’s a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year.

Instead of piling on to this year’s predictions, we thought we’d run a short series and dig in to a couple of the prevailing viewpoints, posing a few questions and thoughts worthy of your consideration. Hopefully, they’ll help you think about the ways in which you can be more agile and have higher confidence in reaching your brand’s annual goals.

Prediction #1: Be Prepared to Navigate the Storms in the Marketplace

Most industry voices call for another solid year of growth for the broader R&R segment and we have no reason to disagree with their sentiments. There are simply a lot of contributing factors lending to category growth such as rising home value and homeowner equity and ongoing fragmentation of home buyer and household occupants demographics. As we approach the end of the first quarter, hopefully your sales are tracking at or above expectations.

Recently, the challenging contributor for brands that miss their goals seems to be primarily emanating from issues around market volatility. Heightened instability has been with us since we began working our way out of the great recession nearly 10 years ago. Today, consumer indices are at exuberant levels and pitch up or down three to four points a month depending on current political and economic news. And, 1% swings in the Dow are becoming commonplace.

It seems that these moments are also having a greater impact on a brand’s performance. We’ve all heard the stories. The mergers among major channel partners means the wins are bigger and the losses hit harder. The rewards of incredible growth in a few key markets or a region suddenly shifts due to a storm or shift in policy discussions. Whatever the trigger is, marketing is asked to react. And all-to-often, options are limited due to new budget or capacity restraints or the time necessary to assess the situation and gain adoption of new options.

keep progress moving

Has your planning process evolved with the new normal? Here are a few tips to maintain progress throughout 2018.

First, be sure you have the right resources in place for your top one or two 2018 goal drivers.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I getting the feedback I need to monitor the progress of this year’s investments?
  • Do I have clarity on potential obstacles and actions in place to achieve my goals?
  • Have I spread my resources across too many initiatives to “cover all the bases”?
  • Do I know which investments will get the immediate axe should I need to redirect resources immediately?
  • Do I have the buy-in I need to make necessary changes today?

Second, do you have the same focus for your top two- or three-year strategic drivers? For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product in 2019, how can you best protect your initiatives during the most important phases of development?

And finally, ensure you’ve performed the necessary scenario planning around potential shifts in marketing plans, partner programs and messaging.

Don’t let a singular episode wreck your ability to reach your brand’s goals for the year. Be sure your plan is attainable and that you have the right tools and processes in place to weather what comes your way. If you do, you should find yourself well ahead of your competitors when there’s a market blip.

Stay linked to our blog for the next prediction: more mergers and acquisitions on the horizon. Are you prepared?

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