How to Market Through Tough, Uncertain Times


How to Market Through Tough, Uncertain Times

It seems like we’re faced with new challenges (both professionally and personally) on an hourly basis. As business professionals, marketing our products and services can easily fall to the bottom of our priority list. Here are some things to try to remember while we battle a suddenly difficult economy:

Don’t stop marketing

History shows cutting back significantly on marketing will only hurt your chances of doing well in the long run. During the Great Depression, the 9/11 aftermath and the last recession, businesses that continued marketing at established levels ended up taking away market share from competitors who scaled back.

The often used example of this is Kellogg's cereal company and its actions during the Great Depression. Kellogg’s and Post were equals heading into the stock market crash. Kellogg’s reacted by significantly increasing its advertising budget, while Post cut its budget. Kellogg’s sales increased throughout the Depression and it was the clear cereal frontrunner after the country recovered.

Change your messaging

Let’s face it, a few weeks ago consumers had a bit of a different perspective. As a whole, we were generally optimistic about the future. Now, not so much. Is your message appropriate for the times? Are there other products and services you offer that may generate more interest now? Would it help your brand to show what you are doing to support your community?

For example; a couple weeks ago, it might have been appropriate to show how big and bold your company is. Now it may be more appropriate to show how humble and helpful it is to those in need.

Go where the action is

With so many people stuck at home, advertise in the places that will reach them. Screen time and computer time are likely to skyrocket in the coming weeks. Consider altering your advertising spending to platforms that you are sure will reach your target audience in their homes.

Audit your marketing

Let’s face it, you might have to tighten your belt (or you may already have). Now is a great time to take a look at your marketing as a whole. Maybe there are places you’ve advertised for years that are no longer effective. For instance, does the company really need to print those desk calendars you’ve been doing since the 70s? Either save money from those types of expenses or, better yet, repurpose them to more effective forms of advertising.

Keep it positive

The world is full of bad news and fear. In fact, we’re all on overload. For the next few weeks and months, positive, optimistic and hopeful branding is going to be more well received than traditional sales pitches.

Right now, faced with so many fires, it’s easy to let the importance of marketing slide. But the reality is that competition will only become more fierce as our nation tightens its belt. You are going to have to fight to keep business. By not giving marketing the proper attention during this time, your business is going to be fighting with one arm tied behind its back.