Recently, the term “Non-Essential Business” has taken on a new meaning, becoming the most undesired and unexpected news for businesses both big and small. With so much uncertainty, surrounding the economy in 2020, many companies have chosen to pull back, looking for ways to minimize expenses and cut costs. We don’t blame them, many simply can not afford it. What started as social distancing has ended with the decision to cut back or lock doors.
While many companies choose their marketing budget as the first line item to cut, we would like to offer a different perspective. One that will keep your business top of mind and actually increase the opportunity for growth. Read on to learn more about why you should rethink your marketing strategy during a global pandemic.
In 2010, Harvard Business Review completed a year long project to analyze the behavior and performance of 4,700 public companies over the past three global recessions. What strategies were deployed that helped many of these companies, not only survive the recession, but sustain growth, during and after?
What we learned – Progressive companies who deployed a strategic mix of defensive and offensive actions came out roaring. These companies stayed connected to their customer needs and used that connection to make better decisions. CEO’s exercised cost discipline to improve operational efficiency, and they invested in their business, looking for new opportunities for growth.
Your Prospects are on Social Media Platforms Now More Than Ever
A recent study showed that COVID-19 sparked a huge jump in social media activity. With most people working remotely from their homes, they have more opportunities to catch up on current events, podcasts, webinars, as well as spend more time on their favorite social media platforms.
If you’ve never really embraced social media, or if you’ve been thinking about leveraging marketing campaigns on social media, now may be a great time to double down. Attention is at an all-time high and, while the competition may be pushing pause, you have the unique opportunity to create more buzz around your product or services.
Opportunities to Assist
People everywhere are looking for inspiration and new ways to engage. They’re 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 help and add value.
Now may be the time to launch that amazing offer, course, podcast, download, video series, webinar, or pillar page that helps your audience both navigate their challenges and plan for the future. Apply this attitude and content to your email campaigns, your social media audiences, your podcast subscribers, and any channel that you are building a community around. Provide assistance and insight, and when everyone is bursting out of this crisis and moving full-steam ahead, your prospects will recognize you as being part of the solution, which gives you the social and business currency to turn that loyalty into revenue.
Marketing is a Marathon – Not a Sprint
In times of turbulence, it’s tempting to think of marketing as a key that can be turned on and off. But that’s just not how it works.
Marketing is the engine that fuels your pipeline. If you stop fueling your engine, you’re not only missing out on potential business opportunities now, but you’re disabling your future growth. Rest assured, many of your competitors will be going full throttle.
Rather than eliminating your marketing spend, you’re likely better off maintaining or even increasing your efforts so you’re still going strong when you come out on the other side.
Opportunities to Reinvent
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 COVID-19 in creative ways. Some, but not all B2B companies, on the other hand, are less affected and in some ways, are thriving. Take Zoom, for example, these types of Saas and VAR industries, are experiencing an unprecedented demand as remote workers look for ways to stay engaged and connected.
Ask yourself – How can my business serve the community in the current environment? What can I do to pivot and adapt my message? Yes, there’s negative news out there, but if you just look, you may find some amazing opportunities!
Peter Drucker’s famous words were never so important.
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Take Advantage of your Competitors Decision to Cut Back
No one likes saying the word out loud but it’s pretty much accepted that we’re 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 afterward.”
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.
Taking the Right Step
So what should you do? That’s something only you can answer for your business. There are many considerations to work through including cash flow, employees, and your financial situation. But, if it’s feasible and realistic to continue your current marketing strategy or even increase your efforts, it could pay off exponentially in the months and years to come.
If you’d like to learn more about inbound marketing or need help in developing a strategy for your business, let us know!