The coronavirus pandemic has led to some pretty seismic changes for the vast majority of businesses. Many have had to temporarily close their doors, or completely reinvent the way they trade. The future is uncertain, and budgets are having to be redeployed left, right and centre.
But, one budget that needs safeguarding is your marketing budget. And, here I'm going to tell you why.
1. Think about the longer term
If you reduce, or completely cease, your marketing activity during the pandemic, it won't necessarily have an effect right now. But, looking ahead one, maybe two, months – when everything is hopefully returning to normal – your sales will be grinding to a halt.
Even if you aren't able to trade right now, taking your foot off that marketing pedal means that there will be a huge task build up your presence again. The customer journey leading up to that all-important sale can take a long time, so why not ensure that you are warming them up now.
And, worst-case scenario, your loyal hard-earned customers may think you have been one of the unlucky businesses who have failed to survive the situation we have all found ourselves in and have gone under.
I'd bet money on the fact that it has taken a while to get your business to where it currently is. Imagine having to start from scratch again.
2. What about your competitors?
OK, there are two possibilities to consider here.
First, let's imagine you stop marketing, and your competitors don't. How will you feel if you pull back on your marketing and your competition decides to forge ahead? Do you want to take the chance of your brand fading into the background, while your customers' alternate options to you are busy making their mark?
And, secondly, if your competitors do reduce their marketing activity and you keep your momentum going, now could be the time you manage to convert some of their customers.
There's no way to know what other people are going to choose for their business and, while you may end up simultaneously cutting your marketing budgets or simultaneously carrying on as planned, it's a big risk to take.
3. Your customers are still there.
Despite being stuck at home, people are still buying. Just look at all the businesses currently reinventing the way they operate (or Amazon's huge recruitment drive!)
While forecasting budgets for the next few months is incredibly tricky – for both businesses and individuals – due to the undefined timelines and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, at the moment, people are still spending money.
And, even those who aren't spending are still consuming content and marketing messages. In fact, without much else to do, we are consuming more than ever!
But, there is a caveat.
While I don't think now is the time to stop marketing (is there ever one?), there is a momentous "but" coming.
It is essential to recognise that everything has changed – albeit temporarily – and so your marketing strategy must be adapted accordingly to enable you to continue to provide value during the short term.
Evaluate your messaging, mediums, and aims in all of your planned activity and amend or replace it as necessary. I'm not saying take advantage of people's fears and worries by any means. But, be sensitive to your customer's potential situation, and aim to support and aid them as you usually would.
This may mean providing them with value and building your relationship in entirely new ways to your organisation. Take a look at this article of how some of today's big brands used innovative ways of marketing to thrive during America's Great Depression, and beyond, for a bit of inspiration!
Or, get in touch with a member of our team to discuss a bespoke approach to suit your business' and your customer's needs.