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During this shocking time of global pandemic, some businesses are being hit hard.   Really hard.  Others, are practically unaffected.  And others are somewhere in between.

When life and business get turned upside down, it’s understandable that most people are going into ‘deer in the headlights’ mode and completely abandoning all normal behaviors . It’s perfectly natural to want to cut all expenses and anticipate the worst.  No one should feel bad about these very valid (and sometimes practical) reactions.

We Believe Marketing Efforts Should Not Be Cut or Reduced Right Now

Nobody knows what the future holds with so many things out of our control right now. However, we strongly believe that marketing is not one of the things that should be cut or reduced right now, if at all possible.  This isn’t just because we are a marketing agency based in Charleston, South Carolina.  In fact, there are many GREAT reasons why your marketing efforts right now should continue or even ramp up.

Reason #1:  People are on social media a lot more right now

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 social media marketing campaigns, now may be a great time to double your efforts.  Attention is in high supply.  While your competition is likely pushing pause, you have a unique opportunity to gain more attention and capture new prospective customers.

In particular, the leading platforms like Facebook and Instagram are likely to be incredibly high-value as people follow breaking stories and argue about politics (Facebook) and share inspiration and life stories (Instagram).

Reason #2: Building a list may be easier than ever right now

Right now most everyone is 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.  By being a beacon during the storm, you can shine your light to audiences farther and wider than you could reach before.

Whether you’re in B2B or B2C or both, the basic tenets of sound marketing have not changed: provide enormous value.

Now may be the time to launch that new offer, course, podcast, download, video series or webinar that helps your audience navigate their challenges. Now may be 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 optimism and guidance.  By being part of the solution by providing help to them when everyone else is panicking, you can be poised to lead the pack when the tide turns around again.  By being there during difficult times as a strong leader, you will gain social and business currency that will eventually turn loyalty into revenue.

Reason #3: Marketing is not a switch; it’s an engine

In times of turbulence, it’s easy to view your marketing as a switch that can be turned on and off.  But that’s not how it really works.

Marketing is more like 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 will 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 your marketing efforts, you are likely better off maintaining or even increasing your energies so you are running strong when the storm passes.

Reason #4: 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.

Reason #5: A recession is a perfect time to increase market share

The economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic are surely going to result in a global recession.   Or worse.  No one knows how long (or short) it will be.

By ramping up now, you stand to gain when your competition is most likely to cut back. This is your chance to gain ground and capture some of their market share.

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.”

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 re-position 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 in an increase in “share of market.” An increase in market share results, with an increase in profits.

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.

How will YOU be positioned when this is over?

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 efforts or even increase them right now, it could pay off exponentially in the months and years to come.