Covid-19 is a global pandemic. Life has changed for all of us in one way or another. Some businesses are being hit hard, especially both the travel and hospitality industries. Others aren’t getting hit as hard and then there are a few that sit somewhere in between.
When life and business get turned around, it's natural to go into "survival" mode. It's understandable that some businesses will start to cut expenses and anticipate the worst. If this sounds familiar, you shouldn’t feel bad about these very valid (and often practical) reactions.
Crystal balls are more of a gimmick than tools to see what the future holds and there are a ton of things that are out of our control at this moment. However, I'd like to offer some evidence to suggest that marketing is not one of the things that should be suspended in times of crisis. In fact, I’ll point out a few solid reasons why marketing should continue or even get more resources.
A recent study pointed to a big spike in social media usage right now. Think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense considering how many people are working from home now and following current events.
If you run campaigns on social media, now may be the perfect time to double down. Attention is in high supply and the competition may be pausing their efforts, gives your business a unique opportunity to gain more attention from your target audience.
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, life stories, and engage in virtual games (Instagram).
Look around, people everywhere are looking for a glimmer of hope and/or inspiration. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can socialize again and get back into the swing of things. Now is the perfect opportunity to create content that inspires and helps people overcome boredom.
Whether you're in B2B or B2C or both, the classic tenets of Inbound Marketing have not changed: provide value and always be helping.
Right now may be the perfect time to launch an amazing offer, course, podcast, download, video series, webinar, or pillar page that helps your audience navigate their challenges. Take this time to leverage 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 by providing 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. Ultimately this gives you the social and business cred to turn that loyalty into revenue.
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 builds momentum as you spin it up just like a flywheel. The more fuel you add to the mix, the more momentum you gain, the faster and more effective it runs.
Suddenly stopping everything means you have to start all over and build up your momentum again. You may find that loyalty from your audience has drifted away if they haven't heard from you in a while. You may have to work extra hard to improve your SEO rankings because the competition kept going.
Rather than bringing your marketing to a halt, you should consider maintaining or even increasing your efforts to continue running strong as the storm passes.
While some businesses are 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 typically less affected and in some ways, they are thriving (take Zoom for example). There are other industries, especially technology, that are experiencing unprecedented growth.
So the questions you should be asking yourself are: How can you better serve the community in the current environment? What can you do to pivot and adapt your messaging? Yes, there is plenty of negative news out there. But there are also plenty of amazing opportunities to be discovered.
No one likes saying the word out loud but it's pretty much accepted that we are going to see a fairly major economic recession. We don't know how long (or short) it will be but it's highly likely.
When this goes down, your competition is probably going to cut back. Take this chance to gain a lead.
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.
Many well-known companies like Kellog's and Amazon became the uncontested leaders in their space by increasing marketing during recessions. And they're basically unstoppable now.
So what should you do? Well, that's something only you can answer for your business. Keep in mind there are several very real considerations to work through including cash flow and your overall economic 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.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get cookin’!