Why it's not a good idea to abandon your marketing efforts during a global pandemic
Written by:Adam Bennett | March 23, 2020
It's an unprecedented time in the world as a global pandemic has forced some businesses to be hit hard and others not as much. Life has changed and we are all creating a new "normal."
We don't know exactly what will happen in the future, as many things are out of our control. Our first instinct is to cut expenses and anticipate the worst. These are valid and practical feelings as we manage payroll, mortgages, taxes, credit, and our families.
I'd like to offer some arguments that marketing is not something to suspend right now. In fact, there are many reasons why marketing should take the forefront of your resources.
People are on social media a lot more right now
A recent study pointed to a sharp rise in social media usage right now. It makes sense because just about everyone is now working from home and spending a lot more time following current events.
If you run campaigns on social media, now may be a great time to double down. Attention is in high supply and the competition may be pushing pause, giving you a unique opportunity to gain more attention.
In particular, the leading platforms like Facebook and Instagram are likely to be incredibly high-value as people follow breaking stories and argue about politics (Facebook) and share inspiration and life stories (Instagram).
Marketing is not a switch, it's an engine.
When times are rough, you may think of marketing as something that can be switched on and off, but that's not how it works. Just as an engine builds momentum as it spins, it gets faster over time and becomes more effective. The more fuel you add to marketing, the more effective it is down the road.
If your marketing grinds to a fast stop, you have to start over by building momentum again. You may have to earn loyalty from customers if they haven't heard from you on social media. You may have to re-gain SEO rankings because the competition kept going.
Rather than halt marketing, you are likely better off maintaining or even increasing your efforts so you are running strong when the storm passes.
Businesses are reinventing themselves
While some businesses are unfortunately truly struggling, others are reinventing themselves. From restaurants to breweries to retail, many B2C businesses are pivoting in response to the coronavirus in creative ways. B2B companies are less affected and in some ways, they are thriving (take Zoom for example). Many industries, especially technology, are experiencing unprecedented demand.
How can your business serve the community in the current environment? What can you do to pivot and adapt your message? Yes, there is some negative news out there. But there are also some amazing opportunities.
A recession is the time to increase market share
No one likes saying the word out loud but it's pretty much accepted that we are going to see a recession. We don't know how long (or short) it will be but it's likely.
When this occurs, your competition is likely to cut back. This is your chance to gain ground.
It's been well-documented that increased spending in marketing and advertising during a recession can pay off. From Forbes:
"...there have been a number of studies going back nearly one century that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. Those advertisers that maintained or grew their ad spending increased sales and market share during the recession and afterwards."
The article continues:
There are several reasons to advertise during a slowdown.
The “noise level” in a brand’s product category can drop when competitors cut back on their ad spend. It also allows for advertisers to reposition a brand or introduce a new product.
Brands can project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.
The cost of advertising drops during recessions. The lower rates create a “buyer’s market” for brands. Studies have shown that direct mail advertising, which can provide greater short-term sales growth, increases during a recession.
When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales. An increase in “share of voice” typically leads to an increase in “share of market.” An increase in market share results, with an increase in profits.
Many well-known companies like Kellog's and Amazon became the uncontested leaders in their space by increasing marketing during recessions. And they're basically unstoppable now.
A decision to make
So what should you do? That's something only you can answer for your business. There are many very real considerations to work through including cash flow and financial situation. But if it's feasible and realistic to continue your marketing or even increase it right now, it could pay off exponentially in the months and years to come.
Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.