The word risk can have many definitions. It can be defined as losing or gaining something of value. It can be the probability that something will work against the probability that it won’t. It can also mean “the chance that an investment’s actual return will be different than expected” (www.investopedia.com).
As a Social Media Contributor on LinkedIn (my profile https://www.linkedin.com/pub/emmanuel-kankam/62/29a/a10), I enjoy participating in and creating topics of discussions in social groups for my peers. A few days ago, I decided to put this topic up for discussion in the Chartered Institute of Marketing official group:
“In marketing should we take risks or always play it safe in satisfying the customers need?”
I was intrigued to see what my fellow professionals thoughts would be on this subject matter and a quite a few participated. Let’s take a look below at some of these thoughts:
“There is an element of risk in every strategy, unless you have perfect information. That said, let’s not forget that risk can be up-side as well as down-side. As is correctly said above, as marketers we are constantly seeking new and more effective ways to interact with and engage our customers. In searching we are taking on a risk – that we won’t find anything better – and in deploying a new strategy which we hope will be better we are taking a calculated risk”.
Founder Wild Orange Media, Marketing Consultant, Public Speaker, Trainer and Good Egg. How may I help?
“…..any plan that is completely without a measured dose of jeopardy is unlikely to keep an organisation at the forefront of marketing thinking. A little risk is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential”.
Megh Shetty (MACS CP)
Project Management (Digitization)
“If we do not take Risks (I mean calculated ones), there would be no innovation”.
I agree with all the comments mentioned above, but the one comment that resonated with me the most was this one:
Experienced Marketing & Business Strategy Consultant, BA (Hons),DipM, MCIM, Chartered Marketer
“Not taking a risk means playing it safe, which requires you to repeat what you or others have done before and where the outcome is fully known at the start……..On the other hand, playing it safe might provide a measure of short term safety but in a fast changing environment, these strategies could actually be risking the longer term for the organisation”.
Why did this resonate with me? Well because playing it safe may always guarantee a return of investment but if there is no risk and no innovation, how can your business and customer/client base grow? Sometimes, if there isn’t something new, how can you keep the customers you already have engaged and at the same time open the door for new ones to come in?
In marketing you should take risks in satisfying the customers needs to a certain degree. Like my fellow professionals mentioned you can take calculated risks. By looking at the data you already have on a customer such as using CRM systems e.g. Salesforce and digging deeper and researching, innovation and strategic risks can be taken.
A way to minimise risk is by marketing working in close collaboration with the sales team. This is because they are the first point of contact with the customers ; they are the customers ears. By conversing with customers on a daily basis, the sales team can provide invaluable insight and this can be passed onto marketing and other teams who may work on product development and innovation. By also having focus groups on a quarterly or half yearly basis (depending on timescales and business needs), we as marketers can listen directly to the customer and let their voice guide us into delivering a product or service that meets their needs and requirements.
Take risks to a certain extent but always think of the end game – return of investment and satisfying the customers need.