Coronavirus has a lot to answer for; it has closed businesses, caused the loss of many jobs, quarantined us, and left us all wondering what’s next, even more so now with the media all talking of the potential second wave. No-one seems to know what will happen next – a sharp uptick in the economy, or even the worst recession ever. No wonder there is a great deal of fear and trepidation about!
As a result, many businesses are finding ways to reduce costs, and often, the first budget to be cut when times are tough is marketing. But, at times like this marketing is really really an essential spend. Now is the time to spend on marketing.
The time to market your business is now. Now is the time to reach and engage with more members of your target audience than ever before. Here’s why and how.
1 – Doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark
You might know what you are doing, but no one else does! Sales and marketing drives business stability as well as business growth, and without it your business will sooner or later grind to a snails pace, or even a halt. You need to be visible, and you need your target market to know that you are still open for business, even if you are operating differently.
Yes, the next few months are going to be a challenge for a lot of businesses, but short term reductions in marketing spend will reduce your visibility and your pipeline for the longer term. It may not yield immediate results, but you will come out of it stronger in the future.
2 – Your competitors are probably not spending on marketing
As much as you are nervous about marketing spend – so are your competitors, and the best time for you to be spending on marketing is when your competitors are spending less. This gives you opportunity to grab a piece of the market share.
And as we have been seeing over the last few months, when spending on advertising falls, so do the prices – and we have especially seen this with Facebook and Google ads. So currently you can market your business for less.
Make sure then that you maintain your marketing spend right now, or even better, look at opportunities to increase your budget. If you have a good marketing tracking system in place you should know the marketing pillars that generate the best results for you, so utilise this knowledge to make your marketing spend most effective.
Everyone within your industry sector has been affected over the last few months, as if you continue to market and remain visible then you’re far more likely to come out as a winner.
3. People Still Need to Buy (and some have more disposable income)
Your customers haven’t disappeared, their shopping habits may have changed, but they have not gone away.
People still need to buy food, new clothes, things for the house, and many are looking now to take a break here and there or go out for dinner. Maybe the way they go about buying these products and services will change, as we have seen with the increase in virtual meetings and presentations, but the need is still present.
Whilst many people have been adversely affected others now have more disposable income having saved money on commuting, coffees and lunch at work and the other incidental costs associated with working in an office. Now may be the time that they are considering home improvements – especially with the move to home working and the need to have a good place at home to work.
If you stop marketing your products and services there will always be someone else who is still marketing and they will be the ones who gain the customers (and potentially steal some of your customers, too).
4 – More people are spending more time online
Whilst we’ve all been at home, social media has been used more and more, many people turned to social media to keep in touch with friends and family. This meant that they started engaging with social media content more and seeing the advantage of using platforms like LinkedIn to be in-front of potential customers. Now is such an important time to have a good social media footprint.
The boom in video continues apace, and now is the time for making sure you are using video to showcase your products, services, and to attract people to you. Customers are looking for someone who is authentic and who they can trust, someone who is an authority and an expert. Video gives you the opportunity to do that – so use it.
5 – Don’t cut your spend, change your focus
Earlier we spoke about tracking the effectiveness of your marketing and using your best performing pillars – or media. It’s also worth checking that these are still relevant today as they may not generate the same results as they did in the past, and you may need to think about how you do things differently. In most cases this is reviewing your message, and the way you communicate; those companies who have changed to on-line consultations have really benefitted here.
You may also have to look at the media you use – if you used to advertise on posters at train stations or airports or even shopping centres, then these need reviewing as no longer is there the footfall in these areas. Instead think about where these customers are now. Knowing your target customer intimately comes into play here – if you were previously targeting commuters then where are they now – what media are they using or watching?
Can you use social media advertising, can you create a direct mail or an email campaign – think of all the different ways you can now get in front of your customer.
Can we Learn from history?
From the great depression to the crash of 2008 there are stories of success from those who continued their marketing.
- During the great depression in America, Post cereal, the market leader, reduced its advertising budget whereas its rival Kellogg’s saw the opportunity and doubled its marketing spend – even introducing a new cereal called Rice Krispies! The result of this was that Kellogg’s profits grew by 30% and they became the cereal market leader.
- Research following the 1981–1982 recession, saw that companies who maintained or increased their ad spend grew their sales by 256% over three compared to those companies who cut back on their advertising.
- McDonalds in the 1990–1991 recession cut their spending, whereas Pizza Hut increased their advertising spend – the result? McDonald’s sales dipped by 28%, while Pizza Hut grew sales by 61%.
Whilst you may be thinking that this is the time to cut your marketing budget, history shows us that maintaining your spend can increase sales and market share now and in the future.
It is those who remain agile now, continue to lead and maintain their marketing spend who are far more likely to come out of this stronger and be the winners.