Logic might tell you that now really isn’t the time to be considering increasing your marketing spend. During times of economic downturn, all outgoings must be carefully considered, and in some cases reconsidered entirely.
If anything, you’re likely to see now as an appropriate time to scale back or even suspend your marketing strategy.
Whichever way you look at it, the financial crisis the world is going through right now isn’t going to disappear overnight. In all likelihood, it’ll be lingering for some time and causing chaos with businesses for the foreseeable future.
Nobody knows exactly what’s around the corner, but a quick and painless return to ‘normality’ as we knew it is an unlikely prospect at best.
In which case, isn’t now the time to think about toning down your marketing efforts to save money? Whether it’s reducing your PPC spend or suspending your social media marketing strategy, are cutbacks advisable until things stabilise once again?
The short answer…no – bringing things to a grinding halt is inadvisable. If anything, stepping things up a little to make the best of a bad situation could work in your favour.
Let’s take a look at what’s happening right now and what you can (and should) be doing to make the most of it:
Social Media Activity is at an All-Time High
First of all, the fact that people are spending more time at home (working or otherwise) means social media activity is at an all-time high. Across all platforms and all demographics, more people are spending more time on social networks than at any other point in recorded history. This means that whoever it is you’re targeting with your products, services and ads, they’re on social media right now looking for information, entertainment and inspiration.
Instagram and Facebook in particular are performing with immense strength in the current climate, as millions of people seek some form of escapism online. As an added bonus, it’s worth bearing in mind that many of your closest rivals may have temporarily pushed a pause button, giving you the opportunity to capitalise on their absence.
Now’s not the time to ease off on your social media marketing efforts – social activity on a global basis is heavier than it has ever been.
Frankly, People Are Bored
Away from social media, people in general have reached a point where the novelty of being stuck indoors and unable to socialise has long-since worn. People are bored, tired and fed up – desperate for entertainment, information and inspiration from any source available to them.
If you’re in a position to provide your audience with helpful, useful and perhaps even reassuring information to satisfy their appetite, you’ve every opportunity to capitalise on the current situation.
Hence, now could also be the perfect time to step up your content marketing campaign, or at least start taking your blog a little more seriously. As is the case with social media, more people than ever before are spending more time browsing the web and reading articles about anything and everything that takes their fancy.
Online Retail is the New Norm
The events of 2020 have triggered no less than a total and permanent online retail revolution. Going forwards, traditional retail is expected to be treated as little more than a novelty by more consumers than ever before. Not to such an extent as to bring about the instant death of the High Street, but enough to play right into the hands of the savvy online retailer.
Contrary to popular belief, people haven’t stopped spending money due to the global pandemic or the economic downturn. The world’s obsession with retail therapy has continued – it’s just that most of the money spent has been spent online.
It’s been predicted for many years that online retail would eventually take over as the new norm for the vast majority of shoppers. It’s just that nobody could have predicted the acceleration of the shift – online retail is the new norm as of right now, representing an immense opportunity for those who take early action.
Businesses Are Presenting New Value Propositions
What’s particularly interesting about the past few months is the way in which small and large businesses alike have been approaching customer relationship development and maintenance in an entirely different way. Previously, the promise of decent quality products and services at competitive prices was enough. Today, people are more about the social responsibility and commitment to safety of the businesses they do business with.
This also adds up to an important and invaluable opportunity to both strengthen existing relationships and forge new relationships with new customers – perhaps new demographics entirely. If you run a physical business, the steps you take to safeguard your customers and continue providing the highest possible service quality in tough times say a lot about your credibility and value. If you run an online business, making it as quick and convenient for your customers to get what they need in a safe and cost-effective way has a similar effect.
It’s important to remember that what mattered most to people as recently as January 2020 may be considered completely inconsequential today. Times have changed, attitudes have changed and so too have the primary value propositions of the savviest businesses.
A Time for Ruthless Market Share Gains
An indefinite period of recession has become something of an inevitability, which isn’t a positive or appealing prospect for anyone. Some will always fare better than others – particularly those who know how to leverage an undeniably unfortunate situation.
The simple fact of the matter is that many of your competitors are going to cut back, suspend their efforts or go out of business entirely. This is the kind of time where many small businesses in particular feel the best thing to do is to go into some kind of hibernation – stepping back on the efforts until more prosperous times. A strategy that can often prove counterproductive, as highlighted in a recent Forbes article:
“…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.”
Leveraging the misfortune and mistakes of other businesses may not be something that comes naturally to you, but is nonetheless something that needs to be done. After all, why sit back and pass up the golden opportunity to gain invaluable market share? And let’s be honest – they’d do the same if your roles were reversed.
Advertising Costs Decrease in Times of Crisis
As with all other industries and sectors, marketing and advertising is based on the classic principles of supply and demand. The more businesses there are using the marketing and advertising services of any given provider, the costlier they become. Precisely why times of economic downturn can be the perfect time to consider stepping up your efforts.
Pound for pound, you’re more likely to get far more from your money right now than you would have at any point in 2019. Whether it’s PPC, SEO or paid social media ads, businesses are cutting back on their spending and forcing advertising companies to up the ante.
Which, when combined with the fact that more people are spending more time online than ever before, adds up to one golden opportunity not to be passed up.
The Current Situation is Only Temporary
Last but not least, one of the most important things to remember is that irrespective of how imperfect the situation is right now, it won’t last forever. Sooner or later, things will begin the slow and steady climb back to normality – or at least whatever turns out to be the new normality.
At which point, those who spent the months prior making every possible effort to take the lead will enjoy a serious advantage over their rivals. Rather than starting from scratch once again when the time comes, it simply makes sense to put yourself in the strongest possible position ahead of time.
Of course, knowing where to invest and how much to invest in such turbulent times can be difficult, which is where professional consultancy can help. Bringing an independent specialist on board can help you build a more detailed and accurate picture of the current marketing landscape, along with what (if anything) your closest rivals are doing right now.
For more information on the above or to discuss any aspect of your brand’s marketing strategy in more detail, book your obligation-free consultation with Tait Pollack day.