During this unique and challenging time, it’s hard not to panic. You’re only human.
We are experiencing drastic changes to markets and consumer behavior, largely a result of COVID19 and associated trading restrictions. As a result, many small business owners are experiencing newfound stress and anxiety around cash flow, staff welfare, and the longevity of their business, finding themselves with no choice other than to start cutting costs.
For a lot of businesses, one of the biggest ‘discretionary’ expenses is advertising, and with an economic downturn looming and consumers increasingly cautious of their finances, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking to cut back on advertising. Before you do decide to cancel your upcoming campaigns or cut back your advertising spend, we recommend reading the below and really thinking about your long term goals.
Here are a few friendly tips to bear in mind when it comes to advertising during the Corona Crisis:
- Don’t stop advertising if you’re still generating a return –
Let’s be real, we’re in a global pandemic and reducing your expenses is necessary, however, you don’t need to cancel advertising altogether. Advertising will help you continue to generate sales and ensure your business/brand is top of mind for consumers – especially if your competitors are scaling back. You want to take advantage of less cluttered advertising platforms and while the cost of sale might be slightly higher, if you’re still making a return on every advertising dollar it makes sense to continue.
According to Marketing Professor, Mark Ritson “It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term.” (Ritson, 2020, The best marketers will be upping, not cutting, their budgets, MarketingWeek.com)
- Double check your terms of business –
If you’ve been known to chop, change or cancel advertising last minute, don’t expect to do the same in these current conditions without penalty or being held to the terms of your contract. Make sure you know the details of any contracts you have with your advertising partners. For many media publishers, the standard terms of business are 30 days’ notice to cancel and with an influx of clients cutting spend, publishers are more likely play hardball and enforce strict terms.
If you do see ROI starting to drop off then make a decision as soon as possible in order to avoid financial hardship down the track.
- Reconsider media platforms to invest in –
It’s important to reconsider how you’re going to reach your target customers during the Corona Crisis as there have been shifts in the way people consume and buy media. Bear in mind that social media consumption, free to air TV, audio streaming, and digital platforms, are likely to see a significant spike in audience share across the day as more people work from home and are keeping regularly updated with news reports.
According to Statista’s March 2020 research on media consumption “The coronavirus outbreak has caused media consumption to increase in countries across the globe, with book reading and audiobook listening up by 14 percent, social media usage seeing an increase of 21 percent, and news consumption rising by 36 percent.” (Watson, 2020, Increased time spent on media consumption due to the coronavirus outbreak among internet users worldwide as of March, 2020, by country, Statista.com) This poses the perfect opportunity for businesses to their build brand awareness via online and digital channels.
- Spend some time focusing on your brand assets –
Now is a great time to start focusing on the backlog of tasks you’ve been putting off such as website updates or refining processes. This will help place you in a stronger position once you’re back up and running at full capacity.
It’s also a great time to focus on content for your social media platforms. There are a tonne of free apps that allow you to plan and schedule social posts so you can plan in advance and set your content to post automatically over the coming months. This will save time and resources when your business picks back up again, and you’ll hopefully start picking up some more followers in the meantime too.
- Build out your ‘recovery’ strategy –
Try to stay positive and think about your plan of action for when the market starts to normalise. While this is a challenging time, you will come out of this in a better position if you work proactively and adapt your business where possible.
Utilise this time to reflect, reevaluate, and build a strategic and comprehensive marketing plan. Here are a few things you can start thinking about:
- Build out your target customer profiles (blog on this to follow)
- What promotional activitiescould you run to help drive sales?
- Which platform do you want to test and focus on in responseto changing consumer media consumption habits?
- Does your communication strategy needs to be reviewed?
- Do you have a consistent social media presence and meaningful conversation with your customers?
And if you don’t have the time, resources or feel confident doing this yourself, there are plenty of great consultants out there who can support you.
If your business has taken a downturn, use this as an opportunity to re-vamp your marketing processes and build/refine your go to market strategy so you can come out of this as a better version of the business you were before. Go inside your cocoon, work just as hard as you always have done, and you will get through this.
The situation we’re in is truly out of our control and we are all in it together. It’s not happened because you made a mistake, lost a big contract, or a competitor overtook you. If Australia shuts down then we all shut down together. Although it is hard, try to stay focused and take time to do things that make you happy and minimise your stress levels.
Growe Media is available to support with your marketing and media planning, so please don’t hesitate to reach out should you need a hand.
You can get in touch via the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0448835492.