Is dropping the ‘M’ word during COVID-19 a moral misstep?
Marketing is a word that many people probably don’t want to hear right now. With the world’s population facing enforced self-isolation or shelter-in-place orders, the threat of a pandemic and a significant rise in unemployment, the term is likely to be the last thing on consumers’ minds.
But for many struggling businesses, marketing could be the only avenue they have left in order to survive. The question is, has ‘marketing’ become a taboo term? Or are we still allowed to talk about it?
We think that marketing isn’t something to be avoided. Instead, we believe that it’s potential to save businesses when they need it most should be utilised and celebrated. Marketing wasn’t a bad practice before the pandemic, and it doesn’t have to be now.
Marketing could be the key to small business survival
A marketing strategy can be a costly exercise even at the best of times, and trying to set one up in the middle of a pandemic tends to make the pursestrings feel even tighter.
That said, marketing has the power to reach potential customers unlike any other. Without getting your brand’s voice out there – especially as your foot traffic drops – your business will inevitably fall flat, and faster than you might like.
Employing a marketing strategy during these unprecedented times means taking into consideration the following factors:
1. Increase your marketing efforts
We’ve hinted at this already, but let us clarify for emphasis: an economic crisis is not the time to stop marketing your business. Rather, it is the time to increase it.
Increasing your marketing during a time when so many other businesses are scaling back will ensure that you and your products are the first that potential customers see, both during and after the pandemic.
2. Allocate a smart budget
Establish a budget that fits in with what your business can afford. If you don’t have much to spend, be sure to research all your options prior to executing any campaigns. There are cost-effective avenues out there – it is simply a matter of finding them.
In some cases, hiring a professional agency to run your marketing strategy could be the more affordable route. In others, opting for a D.I.Y. campaign might be the better offer. No matter which route you opt for, it’s always important to have a solid idea of your return on investment.
Whatever the case, make sure that the budget you allocate for marketing is an economical one – and that it doesn’t leave you and your business in the lurch.
3. Turn your attention toward other possibilities
Redirect your time, effort and resources towards projects that have a higher chance of bringing in revenue. Whether you look at finishing ongoing projects or starting new ones, you might find that a clean slate will give you the fresh perspective you need to succeed.
Restaurants who have been closed due to COVID-19 are now investing in and expanding their delivery efforts. Retail businesses who were once only brick and mortar are now moving their products online.
Take a step back and look at your business through a more creative lens. What do you offer? Is there a way you can adapt your offerings to better serve your customers in the current climate? Think about things differently. There is no better time to do so than now.
These are not easy times, but we are in them together
If you have the ability to continue on with marketing campaigns, you are one of the lucky ones. This pandemic has taken its toll on many businesses already, and there are those to whom pursuing marketing is no longer an option.
When reaching out to your current and potential customers, remember to be considerate, understanding and empathetic. It is important to be aware that while we are all going through this together, everyone is experiencing COVID-19 in their own way.
By being open, honest, and approaching your marketing strategy with dignity, people will be more interested in hearing what you have to say. And by investing in your marketing campaigns today, you will put your business in a better position for tomorrow.