Marketing During an Economic Downturn & Global Pandemic
Businesses tighten their belts during an economic downturn. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Consumers, frightened, confused, and jobless, also tighten their belts. Here we take a look at research and lessons in history. Both can supply companies with guidance regarding marketing during an economic downturn.
Of course, financial uncertainty forces us to analyze every spending decision. Some businesses might even decide to cut back on their marketing initiatives. After all, with so many people out of work, customers will not be spending money.
But history has shown us this would be unwise. When a business maintains its marketing initiatives during an economic downturn, it recovers faster. If the company increases its marketing budget, its profits improve even quicker.
An International Journal of Business and Social Sciences report published in 2015, Marketing During and After Recession, notes this phenomenon. It pulled information from a study by Tony Hiller in 1999, examining 1,000 European and American firms’ financial and marketing data.
After an economic downturn (during the recovery period), businesses that increased marketing expenditures saw an average 4.3% increase in profits. Companies that maintained their marketing budget, with no change, saw a rise of 0.6% profit. And the profits of businesses that cut their marketing efforts fell by 0.8%
Positioning Your Business in Essential Real Estate—Your Audience’s Mind
What made the difference? Keep in mind the report noted the 4.3% increase in profits were realized AFTER the economic downturn—as the economy was recovering. Businesses that chose to invest in their company’s future increased marketing efforts during the economic downturn.
Customers did not have money to spend. But forward-thinking business owners still invested in their customers during the economic downturn.
They realized the value of continued presence in the minds of their audience. They invested in advertising to position their businesses—staying relevant and top of mind for their customers.
Build & Nurture Relationships
By building and nurturing your relationship with your audience, you create a sense of normalcy in turbulent times. They begin to view you as reliable, which cements their trust in you, your company, and the product or service you provide.
Stay at the forefront of their minds during an economic downturn, and they’ll remember your organization. When they have the desire (and, even more important, the means) to spend their hard-earned dollars, they’ll turn to you.
If competitors also continue to invest in this crucial “audience mind real estate,” it’s even more critical that you increase your marketing efforts.
Generating leads, building, and nurturing customer relationships is vitally important to your success. During the recovery period, marketing during the current economic downturn and global pandemic will increase sales or donations. And those gains will propel your message, mission, products, and services to new heights far into the future.
The Economic Downturn & Recovery Tale of Two Giants
What can happen if a company allows this mental real estate to stagnate? Take the story of Post and Kellogg cereal companies during and after the Great Depression in the late 1920s. These two cereal companies dominated the packaged cereal market in the 20s.
But, when the Great Depression hit, Post cut back on advertising expenses. Kellogg, on the other hand, continued marketing during the economic downturn, doubling its advertising budget.
Kellogg brought their ads to the radio, pushing their new product, Rice Krispies, into the public eye. Kellogg’s profits rose by nearly 30% by 1933, and they became the dominant player in the ready-to-eat cereal industry. It maintains that title to this day. Post never caught up after that.
The Moral of the Story
If the strategy is mere survival, thriving is out of the question. If you want your company to succeed, you must be willing to take risks. It takes guts, grit, and determination. Invest in your audience today, and your audience will invest in you tomorrow. Be there for them, and they’ll be there for you.
Strategic Focus Stretches Marketing Budget
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) projects boost organic traffic to your site. They’re a relatively inexpensive, long-term investment that keeps on giving.
A well-written, SEO optimized web page, article, or blog post not only nurtures your current audience but also attracts new, highly-qualified leads.
- SEO-optimize core web pages
- SEO-optimize current articles & blog posts
- Create and publish new SEO-optimized articles & blog posts
- Create and publish SEO-optimized serial articles & blog posts
- Create and publish SEO Magnet
Email marketing campaigns add another vital link between you and your audience. Most people check their email up to ten times per day, and Millenials report that they prefer to deal with companies through email.
Examples: Email Marketing Projects
- 72-Hour Flash Sale: 4 Emails
- Short Product Launch Leading to Sales Letter: 6 Emails
- Typical Product Launch: 11 Emails
- Behavioral Segmentation Campaign: 9 Emails
- The Hero’s Journey: 7 Emails
- Abandon Cart Sequence: 2 Emails
- Welcome Sequence (for leads): 5 Emails
- Welcome Sequence (for customers): 5 Emails
- Webinar Registration: 5 Emails
- Webinar Attendance Reminder: 6 Emails
- Webinar Replay: 4 Emails
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing, another essential component of nurturing your audience, can also generate leads — driving organic traffic to your site.
It’s important to remember the goal of social media, however. Using it solely to promote your business (free advertising) results in lost opportunities. The most significant advantage of a well-managed social media account is social interaction!
Engage Your Audience
- Request to connect, follow, and friend
- Accept connection and friend requests from your audience
- Follow back relevant accounts
- Comment on posts
- Respond to comments
- Post engaging content not always directly tied to promoting your business
- Create surveys
Rules-based Conversationally-designed chatbots are yet another engaging approach for nurturing your audience! They’re fun and convenient for consumers, offer versatile use cases, and significantly reduce operating costs while improving your ROI!
Chatbot Use Cases
- Customer Service
- Lead Generation
- Lead Qualification
- Omni-channel marketing
- And More!
Direct Response Marketing
Whether you create sales letters, magalogs, sales landing pages, or video sales letters, direct response is a tried and true approach to getting your message to your audience.
Persuasive copywriting that crafts creative, clear, and compelling calls to action is the key to a successful campaign. Fund-raising, product rollouts, flash sales, and volunteer searches are among the many use cases for this marketing strategy.
These campaigns remind your audience that your company is alive and well — and thriving. And they can provide much-needed products and services relevant to the current crisis.
The messages conveyed in your direct response campaign boost your credibility and build trust with your audience, even those who cannot act on the call to action.
For business, nothing says “trust us” better than aligning yourself with an important cause. People love to support worthy non-profit organizations. If they can do that by purchasing your product or signing up for your service, it’s a win/win all the way around.
For the non-profit, aligning yourself with credible, relevant products and services boosts awareness of your cause as it improves your funding. The cause marketing campaign not only brings in much-needed revenue but also points to your website. People looking for more ways to make a difference will visit your site, resulting in new members, donors, and volunteers.
Finding the right copywriter is crucial to your marketing success, not only during an economic downturn but in general. If your copywriter understands your mission, message, and goals, she can hit the ground running on any copywriting project.
Skills, knowledge, and passion are integral in creating clear, creative, compelling calls to action that convert.
Nurturing relationships requires excellent communication skills and thoughtful analysis. Mindfulness regarding the stresses acting upon your audience during a crisis is an essential component of interaction and engagement.
See if your mission aligns with The Wellness Connection Copywriting philosophy. Turbulent times call for creative marketing strategies and partnerships!