It's a global pandemic. Life has changed. And many businesses are being hit hard.
When life and business get turned upside down, it's natural to go into "hunker down" mode. It's understandable to want to cut all expenses and anticipate the worst. None of us should feel bad about these very valid (and sometimes practical) reactions.
We don't know what the future holds and there are so many things out of our control right now. However, We'd like to offer an argument that marketing is not one of the things that should be suspended right now. In fact, there are many reasons why marketing should continue or even get more resources. Here are 6 things to consider before adjusting your marketing strategy.
1. Attention is high and competition could be taking a pause
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, Instagram and Linkedin are likely to be incredibly high-value as people follow breaking stories, listen for company and industry responses and share inspiration and resources.
2. Customers may be highly engaged and responsive
Keeping the lines of communication going sends a deep message that you are responding to world and local changes while at the same time continuously focused on supporting your customer needs. This may involve close contact and outreach across a range of different channels.
Identify your VIPs and implement a customer segmentation marketing strategy for each subgroup to maintain the relationship and even glean insights on how to convert more customers into these VIP groups. Don’t go dark, leaving your customer contacts on their own.
Implement a VIP survey as part of your strategy and offer to share results with those who respond. Add an option for those customers to be featured in a case study campaign. It could be presented as a collaborative effort for shared promotion and growth. Could this be an opportune time to build in a referral program? Be creative, think outside the box and engage with customers to figure things out.
3. Building a list may be easier than ever right now
People everywhere are looking for hope and inspiration. They are looking forward to the day when they can socialize again and see life get back to normal. Now is the time to create content that inspires and helps.
Whether you're in B2B or B2C or both, the classic tenets of Inbound Marketing have not changed: provide value.
Now maybe the time to launch that amazing offer, course, podcast, download, video series, webinar, or pillar page that helps your audience navigate their challenges. Now maybe a great time to use content to build your email list, your social media custom audiences, your podcast subscribers, your video followers, and any channel that you are building a community around.
People in both B2B and B2C are looking for hope and guidance. Be part of the solution and provide help to them and when everyone is bursting out of this crisis and moving full-steam ahead in business, you have been part of the solution all along which gives you the social and business currency to turn that loyalty into revenue.
4. Marketing is not a switch; it's an engine
In times of turbulence, it's tempting to think of marketing as a switch that can be turned on and off. But that's not how it works.
Marketing is an engine that starts slowly and then builds momentum as you spin it up (flywheel anyone?). The more you add fuel and the more momentum you gain, the faster and more effective it is.
If you suddenly grind it to a halt, you have to start over by building momentum again. You may have to re-earn loyalty from your audience if they haven't heard from you in a while. You may have to re-gain SEO rankings because the competition kept going.
Rather than halt marketing, you are likely better off finding ways to begin, maintain or even increase your efforts so you are running strong when the storm passes.
5. 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.
6. A recession is a 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."
Many well-known companies like Kellogg'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.
If you like to explore scenarios and collaborate on strategies that could address your individual needs and concerns schedule a FREE consultation with one of our senior strategists using the link below.