COVID-19 is causing panic and businesses put a laser focus on profitability, and ensuring every cost gives the great return on investment. It means that few companies think about continuing their marketing strategies. It is a huge mistake.
As Henry Ford said, a man who stops marketing to save money is like a man who stops the clock to save time.
There is no doubt that marketing during recession represents the best strategy for this difficult period, for most companies. Especially when a recession has universal dimensions, many companies find themselves unprepared to face this kind of challenges. While marketing in good times has a long-term focus, a broad scope, being proactive, in bad times it has a short-term focus, limited and narrow scope, it is cost-and sales-driven and reactive.
A little shift in positioning might make your company more attractive to new profitable targets that have never been approached before. Customer targeting should be based on:
• Detecting customers’ needs and company’s capabilities to fulfill them
• Market size estimation
• Deep knowledge of competition
• Cost — benefit analysis
Focus on your existing customers and try to serve them even better
Whether we talk about leads, conversions or even users to reach your website, all is done by digital marketing. Without it, people wouldn’t know about your brand or about your services, and, more important, wouldn’t know why your products are superior to others, in terms of pricing-quality ratio.
Existing customers are probably the most important asset during downturns. Marketing and sales activities should be well focused on the most valuable, loyal and satisfied customers. Companies should keep them satisfied and reward their loyalty.
Also, especially as it happens during this specific virus-generated crisis, customers should know that you’re still there. Even if you are a restaurant ordered to close, you can still deliver at home so you have to communicate this to your regular clients.
Invest more time in providing useful content
If you can find a way to connect your brand to the struggles brought on by an economic crisis, examine how your business can provide sound advice, tips, information and even products/services to improve the way your customers survive the recession alongside your company. Showing support and relating to your audience may even help your brand earn some extra customers to help you through these hard times.
Try to differentiate yourself from competition
Companies should carefully decide how to differentiate from competition. A differentiation must be clear, distinct, easy to communicate and profitable. The four pillars of differentiation are quality, innovation, service and price.
During recession it is crucial to question what each element in your marketing plan is intended to achieve. How will it encourage brand loyalty? Will it make the brand seem worth paying more for, or will it create a belief that this is a cheap brand? Because the stakes are higher when money is tight, you need to feel confident that your investment will provide a good return.
Try to maintain the same promotional budget
During recessions one of the first actions most companies take is to cut back on promotion expenses of their products or services. However, cutting back on marketing activities (e.g. advertising) and sales activities (e.g. sales force) in downturns saves money in the short term, but undermines the medium and long-term equity of brands.
Indeed, a company that increases its marketing spend during a recession has the opportunity to steal market share whilst its rivals are weak. If competitors are decreasing their marketing budget (and with this their share of voice), the organization that boosted its marketing spend will gain market share and market voice, and it will end up in a stronger position not only in the recession, but when growth returns.
Audit Your Website
A recession represents a good opportunity to take a long hard look at your website; analyze its design, functionality and ease of use. Especially during a time as emotionally and financially stressful as a recession, customers deserve to have the least amount of clutter in between the information they need and the products/services they’re looking for.
During recessions, customers, marketers and sales people alike must make the best of a bad situation. Companies that are afraid to take any radical action to face challenges might find themselves at a disadvantage when the recession ends. Such difficult times should be overcome through methodical and well planned actions. After all, research has shown that those companies that take a proactive stance and treat the recession as an opportunity are likely to come out of the crisis stronger than before.
A good digital marketing strategy is always the best response to an economic crisis situation!