Businesses are hurting; there is wide-spread speculation that a recession is imminent. On the back of the horrific bushfire season, Australian business owners are now being pummelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Naturally business owners are looking at ways to cut costs, but history tells us that continuing a level of marketing activity during tough economic times helps protect the long-term future of businesses.
Business plans and marketing strategies must be reviewed and adapted to the current climate, but to cease marketing activity altogether is a real risk.
Here are Banter Group’s top 4 reasons why continuing marketing activity throughout a crisis makes good business sense.
1. More people are online now
According to a Marketing Week article, during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- 88% of marketers surveyed predict an increase in consumers’ use of online services
- 86% expect to see a rise in social media activity
- 79% predict an increase in ecommerce usage
People are self-isolating, workplaces are closing their doors temporarily; your existing and potential customers are now largely online. If you can create content that is timely and resonates with your audiences who are living through an uncertain period, it’s a good time to be present.
It’s also a great time to be collecting data on these customers as they visit your site, through tracking pixels. Tracking pixels will allow you to retarget your customers in the future. Retargeting also means it’s cheaper to retarget a customer than it is to find a new one.
2. Build long-term trust & loyalty: be in it together with your customers
Be adaptable, be engaging, be there. When everyday normality is thrown out the window and people are feeling anxious, unsure and desperate for hand sanitizer, toilet paper and mince; it’s time to use your business voice, rather than go quiet. If you show that you can adapt, provide new service offerings and perhaps even provide a little humor along the way in tough times, your customers will appreciate this. These businesses are staying active in the current climate and keeping their customers informed…and entertained in some cases.
3. As competitors slow, position yourself for the long-haul
Neil Patel, is a globally respected digital marketer; here he shares his viewpoint on the current COVID-19 crisis and his insights gained from riding-out past economic crises:
“What I’ve learned from going through two crashes (the dotcom crash in 2000 and the real estate crash in 2008) is that the best time to double down is when others are not. During an economic downturn, you’ll find that you will have less competition, which means it is easier and faster to get results. When you see your competitors closing down or slowing down on their marketing, the goal is to double down. You may not see the biggest return right away, but in the long term, you will.”
4. Disappearing, then trying to reappear is expensive
At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, consumers will return to the streets and some sense of day-to-day normality will resume. People still need to buy and sell homes. People still need health and fitness services. People will still want to travel and eat out.
If you disappear from your customer’s consciousness during the COVID-19 pandemic it can:
- Effect the SEO of your website due to a reduction in traffic
- Impact your reach via social media due to the algorithms responding to reduced posting and engagement
- Diminish your connection and brand loyalty with existing clients; and it’s much more cost effective to retain clients and generate repeat business, than acquire new ones.
In the words of Mark Ritson: “But this virus, too, shall pass. Keep the brand light burning, because the cost of snuffing it out for the rest of 2020 and then trying to reignite it next year is gigantic.”
React, readjust, be smart & strategic with your marketing spend
During tough economic times it’s wise and indeed often a necessity to contain your business marketing costs, but if you fail to support your customers changing needs and priorities now, you may not have a business to run when the crisis is over.
In a Harvard Business Review article analysing how to market during a down-turn, history shows that businesses who “nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand, are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”
The Banter Group team is here to help if you need strategic support to prioritise your marketing activity during this challenging time. #weareinthistogether