Throughout this pandemic, we’ve counted ourselves lucky. Our doors have stayed open and work has continued, which has brought a sense of balance and clarity to the passing days. There’s a hidden gift that work gives when you’re in self-isolation—learning to keep to a schedule, getting initiatives off the ground, strengthening business relationships and reviewing your current marketing plans. And in this space is a rejuvenated determination to develop purposeful, effective projects for our clients.
It’s also been a positive reminder that most businesses will make it through this. It’s true that no two recessions are the same, but what is true for all of them is that we’ve come through to the other side. You can see it happening right now. Businesses are opening. People are venturing out. While you may have panicked at the initial outset and your marketing went to the wayside, there is ongoing value in using this opportunity to establish yourself as a strong, resilient brand.
How? The most important thing we can stress is this—it’s time to up your marketing game. Use the lessons learned from past crises and some creative marketing practices to position your business for the best possible outcome. We may not be out of the woods yet, but there are many things you can do to keep your brand top of mind during the current COVID-19 crisis. This post will touch on the reasons why this is the time to continue (if not amplify) your marketing, and it will introduce how you can do so to greater success.
Why Focus on Marketing?
Think of how much you’ve invested into it over the years. It would be a waste of your time and resources to keep your marketing efforts on hold. In times of crisis, it is natural to react with quick, immediate solutions. But short-term thinking can sacrifice brand equity, which is what drives your long-term success. So, don’t hold back the reins unless you absolutely have to.
Another reason not to wait—you don’t want to be in a race with your competition to recover lost revenue. If you paused during a crisis because you saw others pausing, then everyone will be reentering the market at the same time. But if you continue your marketing now (or start back if you stopped) rather than waiting, you can avoid the starter-pistol pressure to jolt all your strategies back to life.
If your marketing is on pause, then by the time things get 100% back to normal, you will have lost a valuable opportunity to connect to your audience and demonstrate your reliability. Showing consistency will build trust in your brand. And you don’t have to go far to find your audience—the online arena is crowded now. People will see your message if you put it in the right places.
History shows if you cut less during a crisis or downtimes, you’ll gain more in better times. According to Harvard Business School professor John Quelch, increased advertising during a recession can improve market share and ROI. Additionally, a Harvard Business Review study found that 37 percent of businesses who had a more progressive focus outperformed their rivals, whereas only 21 percent of businesses who opted for a prevention focus could say the same. So, what are you waiting for?
Ramping your Marketing Back Up
All this to say, if you’ve stopped your marketing, or eased off considerably, it’s time to change direction. Because the world is moving on. It’s getting better every day, so ramp up your marketing now and prepare for the second half of the year.
However, the decision to continue marketing during a crisis doesn’t mean carry on as if it’s business as usual. Because clearly, it’s not. To market successfully in a recovery climate, you need to take your budget and refocus it. What does your audience need right now, and how can you deliver that to them?
The first way we’ll discuss is through social media. Stay tuned for our next post in this series to find out more!