Marketing in Uncertain Times

By Blake Holmes

With the Coronavirus (Covid-19) having an unprecedented impact on businesses globally, the current demand for marketing and advertising has been cast into question.

Our prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an impending Level 4 Alert, meaning only essential services and businesses are to remain open. While these measures are essential for saving lives, major industries are forecasting astounding losses. The travel industry is set to lose $820 billion dollars and it’s estimated the global economy could lose $2.7 trillion. Insights gathered from Marketing Guru, Neil Patel show organic traffic has dropped significantly over the recent period. 

While this is cause for concern, some industries are thriving. Grocery, retailers selling essentials like baby products and news and home entertainment providers are thriving as people prepare for uncertain times in isolation.

So what does this all mean for marketers, advertisers and businesses? 

In the wise words of Warren Buffet (and Neil Patel) ‘be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful’. Patel sees this as an opportunity for businesses and marketers in advantageous positions to double down on their marketing, innovate and overcome challenges through adaptation. Patel recalls his heavily discounted purchases of news websites during the last economic downturn as key to his brand’s personal growth, recouping the costs in months as he merged them with his own domain and enjoyed significantly increased traffic as a result. This is a valuable lesson in finding opportunity in chaos. 

Digital marketing is an interesting space, as while ad spend will naturally decrease as SMB’s tighten expenditure, digital marketing is by far the most viable, cost-effective and measurable way to meet audiences at home. Out of Home will take a significant dive and with people in isolation, the best way to connect with your brand loyalists will be through online advertising and tailored digital marketing communications. A simple blog or social strategy in the event of decreased sales can be the difference between being forgotten about and maintaining a solid relationship with your target customer.

There is also significant opportunity in the B2B space. Statistics from 2018 show B2B businesses who participate in trade events allocate 40% of their marketing spend to exhibitions and industry shows. With these called into question, the 8% they spend on online marketing is expected to grow and if it does even marginally, that is a significant opportunity for digital marketers to capitalise on a client base now seeking to connect with their business customers online.  

For brands and businesses concerned about the times ahead, our suggestion is to review your digital marketing strategy now. Website out of date but you’ve had little time to review it? This is exactly the time to refresh your brand for growth after this downturn. That is the important message. These events, whether due to market forces or global crises, resolve. Solutions are found, the market recovers and when it does, you want to be sure you are in the best position to make up for lost time and sales. 

It’s also an ideal time to review strategy and look for shortcomings to date. In the digital marketing space, these include things like website content, SEO, Google Adwords, content marketing, digital media, press releases and articles and of course, social media.

Social media is an interesting space. We are in an unprecedented time where social distancing is essential and our thirst for connection is and will be sustained by technology and the social channels we use to connect with one another. Brands and businesses that may have neglected this space now have the opportunity to strategise to meet a new kind of consumer. One who lives online and for whom the prospect of connecting with at a physical touch point is now impossible. This is an opportunity to innovate. A chance to trial, learn, connect with customers in real time and improve for an inevitable, digital business future. 

It’s also a time to be ethical.

People are worried and afraid, business owners included. From people buying and reselling essential items at an enormous premium, to travel cruise companies omitting health information to secure bookings, we have already seen examples of people trying to capitalise on or mitigate their losses through unethical business practices. This is a time to set an example and understand the responsibility we all have to each other, within and outside business, to be caring, compassionate and supportive. 

Ultimately businesses and marketers need to work together. At Brave, we believe in enduring partnerships with clients through thick and thin. Now is the time to strategise, collaborate and find solutions as there are always some to be found. If you’re looking to plan for the uncertain times ahead, give us a call. We’d love to help.

We would love to work with you.

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