In a crisis, marketing is the first expenditure to go, which is probably the right course of action. Because consumer behavior has changed and times are uncertain, customers would rather save money due to fear and unemployment.
Should you stop marketing or cut the budget on marketing expenditures?
Ad spending has dropped by a significant amount, but media consumption and time spent online as seen a significant increase. People are spending more time online. It’s arguably the best time to advertise online.
Because the goal is branding, and as branding goes it’s a long-term strategy.
Reach your customers online.
Marketing done well can help you build a strong brand, gain credibility, and develop trust with your customers. To establish a memorable brand, you must first build a relationship of trust. It's like a marriage proposal: you start with a date, build a relationship, and develop trust. Then, you ask them to marry you (or buy from you).
Branding and marketing are still essential, especially for digital marketing and online branding. You can keep your customers engaged and informed about your company's position and safety measures when they visit. Many businesses have reduced their social media posts and advertising, but without a good strategy, this could harm your branding in the long run. Instead, focus on what works, put all your efforts into it, and cut what isn't.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in internet usage, meaning more audience for your content, especially if you use digital marketing. People are staying indoors and spending more time online, so you can reach them.
To create a marketing strategy that will stand the test of time, even after the pandemic, it is essential to measure and track every aspect of your business. As Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” This means that you need measurable goals and trackable performance to know if you are succeeding.
Once you have clearly defined metrics for success, identify any marketing efforts that are not working and cut them to reduce expenditure. Instead, focus on strategies such as SEO, social media, blogging, and content marketing, which require little to no expense, apart from the time investment.
Finally, analyze how your product and services will be affected by the pandemic and determine which ones are more likely to decline in sales but can flourish after, and which ones will be stable during and after. This will depend on your business, goals, and customer base.
Reach out to both existing customers and potential ones with a message that focuses on forming relationships, not selling. Your messaging should be empathetic and informative. If you do choose to sell, make sure it's something your customers need or have an interest in. Don't over-promote yourself; show that you care.
Data-oriented digital marketing is a way of using data to make business and marketing decisions. This data is collected from ads, blogs, site visits, buying behavior, and social media. It provides insight into what services and products customers are interested in.
This is a useful approach, as it is easy to measure and adjust. During the pandemic, people have more time on their hands and are still interested in products and goods. Businesses can use this opportunity to provide information about their products and educate customers on how their product can solve their problems. This can lead to ROI later, and should be part of the branding strategy.
There is a debate over whether businesses should focus on branding or sales. I would choose the former, but it is important to remember that selling is necessary to make money. The goal should be to do both or to sell with a conscious.
Cause consistency is important even in these times
Data can help you send targeted emails to customers who show the highest purchase intent. For example, if a customer clicks on the contact page or goes to the checkout page but doesn't complete the purchase, you can send them emails or push notifications with promotions or articles that explain why your product or service is the best choice.
When considering this strategy, two things to keep in mind are:
If your business is brick-and-mortar, or offline, try to bring it online. Make sales online and automate other business processes. Utilize social media or get a website/web app custom-developed to suit your needs. This can be a start of a new business model that combines both online and offline strategies.
You can't wait for things to return to normal. If your business can survive until then, you're one of the lucky few. But most businesses can't wait that long.
To expand on the previous point, you need to learn to adapt and understand that this crisis may take longer than expected or desired. As mentioned before, your business cannot wait any longer. We don't know when this will end, but it will eventually. The best thing to do is learn how to keep the business running and adapt to the new normal.
Most businesses have their offices closed and some are reducing the number of workers who can report to work. Automating some of your business processes can help you maintain the level of efficiency and operations, while also reducing costs and still providing services to your customers.
Therefore, if there is any part of your business that can be automated, now is the time to make the transition. This may require you to develop a new business model or adjust the existing one. Making the transition may help your business.
In summary, it is important to continue marketing and providing value to customers, even though the world is in a recession and Africa is facing economic setbacks. Those who can keep marketing and promoting their business during these times can still thrive and gain more customers in the long run.
At Pathwise Media, we use data-oriented and relationship marketing to help businesses grow and become visible to their target customers. We offer free online marketing audits, so fill out the Pathwise Media Contact form and we will assist you with your online marketing needs.