An automatic reaction during a crisis or economic downturn is to stop marketing efforts. Often companies are looking for ways to cut costs and the first thing they think of cutting back or eliminating is marketing. This is a short-sighted view that will hurt your company.
Without marketing, the brand that you’ve been able to build can be destroyed in a matter of months or less. Doing away with or greatly diminishing marketing efforts will make it that much more difficult to come back from a slump.
Think of your marketing in terms of short-, medium- and long-term objectives, and know where you should and shouldn't be making changes in your marketing strategy. Now would be a good time to develop a short-term strategy specific to the current situation. As circumstances change adjust your short-term marketing strategy accordingly.
Think about how you want your brand to be perceived when the world returns to normal. Build a short-term strategy based on where you want your business to be when this is all over. In crisis situations, it’s less about advertising and more about trying to be helpful, useful and informative. It’s actually a good time to build trust.
Messaging and creative become that much more important. It’s about striking a balance between staying top-of-mind without appearing unsympathetic. Stay relevant by telling stories about what you’re doing to have a positive impact on your community, your employees and your customers. Display a sense that you are in tune with your customers and provide specific messaging that instills a sense a trust. This will bring long lasting value.
Marketers that take a long-term view of their media strategy will be well positioned down the line. Sales will be lower all around during an economic downturn but the marketing you do today will help you over the next year, the next five years, and beyond.
Avoid knee-jerk reactions, make smart decisions, use data and numbers to drive your decisions and, most importantly, don't panic. Your marketing can make a tremendous difference between success and failure.
Stay safe and be well.