When the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and lockdowns, quarantines or shelter-in-place orders began, we saw a lot of businesses react by pulling back. It wasn’t just marketing campaigns that halted. Businesses stopped doing pretty much everything. Many have had to temporarily close, move operations online, or shut down entirely. Even we scaled back a lot of what we had planned for Q1 of 2020. It was a difficult pill to swallow, but it allowed us to observe and learn from the ever-changing landscape.
In short, we saw brands mostly do one of three things when it came to marketing: pull back, double-down, or pivot.
Brands that pulled back did so because they either had little choice or they believed that saving cash was the best way to weather the storm.
Other brands pivoted to long-term investments or nominal initiatives such as content marketing, social media or SEO-related housekeeping.
Throughout our observations, we noted that while many brands fell silent, the few that didn’t were able to cut through the would-be noise and pay less while their competition sat on the sidelines. Some of these brands were doing things that they never had before, like offering deeper discounts on products that don’t normally get marked down. Combined with narratives sensitive to the current situation, it worked really well.
The wide variety of reactions we saw inspired us to seek research on past events we could compare to. We found this study from Harvard Business Review suggesting that instead of ceasing all marketing, refining marketing strategies during an economic downturn is more likely to be successful during and after a recession.
This is especially relevant considering how we live in a time of ever-increasing digitalization and data that shows mobile e-commerce is poised for even more growth:
Of course, every business or brand faces a unique set of challenges. Increasing or even maintaining initiatives may not be feasible for you and your business, so the key is identifying and seizing the opportunity your current situation has presented you with. That’s where we can help.
Do you need to conserve resources for the time being? We can show you how to do things like website housekeeping or content marketing that you can do for free and will pay you dividends in the long run.
Need to refine your marketing strategy for the world we find ourselves in today? We can show you how it’s easier than you might think. Many marketing fundamentals remain the same, but they are now weighted differently: for example, tone and messaging have always been a consideration, but audiences are likely to be more sensitive to them now.
Have the resources to double-down? The time is now. This is your opportunity to grab the attention of your customers. Not only will it likely be at a discounted price, it will also likely be at a time when the the right messaging will enjoy sky high efficacy.