Should I invest in marketing right now?

In today’s volatile environment, with so many uncertainties ahead of us, it feels only right to cut back on spending wherever you can to help ride out the storm. Yet is this really the best approach for your business right now, particularly when it comes to marketing? Let’s take a closer look.

The impact of cutting back on marketing activity during turbulent times could have long-term implications for your brand and business. Before you make any decisions be sure to plan carefully and consider all options. With a few tweaks here and adjustments there, adopting a revised, updated marketing strategy inlight of the current situation could save you lots of time, effort and heightened investment in the long run.

Within this blog we dive into exactly what this means for you and your business, exploring ways to ensure your brand can stay at the forefront of your customer minds. So when things pick up again, and they will, you can hit the road running knowing you still have a strong brand presence and a healthy, loyal customer following.

One of the first things to go!

Whether it’s an economic downturn, environmental event, new legislation or social changes, marketing budgets are often dramatically reduced during uncertainty as companies become more cautious with their money. However, pausing or slowing down marketing activity can have a massive impact and even damage your brand. 

With less activity on digital channels, it can result in a decrease in brand awareness, a drop in SEO search rankings, reduced social followers, as well as a decline in brand loyalty – to name but a few. If you lose traction within any of these areas, it can be a costly exercise to get them back on track, higher than if you just continued as planned. It can also cause a loss in revenue long-term.

To help you avoid these outcomes, here are 3 suggestions to guide your efforts over the coming weeks.

What you should do right now –

Maintain your brand presence

Reducing your brand presence is definitely a no no. If you are going to maintain recognition and relationships with existing and potential customers. It is essential to keep your brand out there! One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of doing this is to keep your online channels active. 

Given your competitors may well be withdrawing their marketing investment at this time, as they reconsider their strategy, it could be the perfect opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and differentiate your company. This will help you stay ahead of the game for when things do pick up! 

Remember, a decline in presence can be perceived as a failing business. Something you definitely want to avoid if you are going to retain credibility and trust with your customers.

Taking control of the short-term

The impact will be felt most in the first few months, so flexing and adapting your immediate marketing strategies and tactics is a no brainer. Take control of things that are easily changeable including your approach to email marketing, social media, paid online advising, basically any form of digital promotion that is currently running or planned over the next few months. 

You can slow down or even pause any paid advertising to cut costs and ramp up organic activity. This is a great way of maintaining your brand presence within the marketplace. 

If email is part of your online strategy, see our best practice email marketing tips here >.

For any physical events you had planned, where possible take them online. Whether it’s a guest speaker, workshop or seminar, there are many online video platforms across varying price-points you could utilise – from GoToMeeting and Webex, to Zoom, Slack and Google Hangouts. But remember to check out their online security first.

Once you have your short-term approach under control you will gain clearer sight of future developments as they evolve. These can then be fed back into your medium and long-term plans to ensure they are appropriate, relevant and aligned to your business goals.

Adapt your messaging

And finally, be sure to review your messaging and tone to reflect an understanding of how people are feeling right now. Show empathy and compassion in your communications, but don’t over do it as this could cause upset with your audience and disengagement from your brand. 

If you’re thinking of running sales promotions, it’s probably best to hold off unless you’re absolutely certain it’s appropriate and of value to your audience right now. At the end of the day, you want your customers to maintain a positive perception and genuine connection with your company. Sending irrelevant content could do just the opposite. 

A recent study found 1 in 3 people are putting brands on notice for inappropriate behaviour and communications during the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s essential to get this part right as it could impact the future purchasing behaviours of customers. 

We are fully aware that this is a fast changing situation and it can be difficult to plan ahead even for the short-term. We do hope these tips offer some guidance to aid your success going forward, but feel free to get in touch if we can support you in any way.