Marketing in a downturn - navigating uncharted waters | Brandmark Studios

Hitting The Mark

Our nation's businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption right now, even with the billions of dollars being distributed from the CARES Act. The new U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey shows the majority (51.4%) of respondents expect it will take more than six months for their businesses to return to normal. But there IS a path to fast-tracking the return to growth. We have seen businesses that take advantage of changes in customer behaviors benefit the most.

Economic crisis, Businessman using mobile smartphone analyzing sales data and economic graph chart that is falling due to the corona virus crisis, Covid-19, stock market crash caused.

As you consider a strategic pivot, here are some points to keep in mind:

  • No two downturns are ever the same, but there are lessons from past recessions
  • One thing is for certain -- your response will determine performance
  • Brands must show compassion and relevance to continue to build trust
  • Understanding your buyer’s current interests and behaviors can help focus your efforts
  • Indiscriminate budget cuts often result in the inability to recapture share of voice and market share when the economy rebounds
  • Strategic, targeted digital marketing is a cost-effective solution

Control what you can.

The Covid-19 pandemic has rocked our world like nothing else – in a matter of weeks we have gone from a booming economy with low-unemployment to a faltering economy and high unemployment. And, as we transition to a new normal, the horizon ahead portends unchartered territory for everyone. Your point of view will determine your outlook. Like Sam Walton, founder of Walmart said when asked “What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.” You too have a decision right now.

Brand identity matters more than ever.

How you respond to this environment will determine how you perform in the long run. During a downturn, don’t alter your fundamental proposition. The goal should be to reinforce your brand and remind consumers why your brand matters. While the inclination may be to pull back, now is a good time to concentrate on remaining relevant.

Don’t go dark.

Focus on customer retention, maintaining revenue from existing customers and targeting acquisition if your product or service responds to their new pain points. Use well-crafted messaging that connects emotionally and builds trust. Nielsen found that brands that go totally dark for the rest of 2020 could face revenue declines of up to 11% in 2021. We’ve seen small businesses that adopt an efficient digital strategy, utilize social media and digital advertising, see benefits that could be long-lasting.

Fine-tune marketing strategies with customer data.

Depending upon which segment your core customers belong to determines your strategic opportunity. Know your customer’s NEW consumption patterns and fine-tune strategies accordingly to boost sales and capitalize on adaptive behaviors. Use behavioral cues from your go-to-market channels to draw insights on their current interests, pain points and needs.

Consider mobile ads, as handheld device usage increased 215% in March this year and mobile ad impressions in Q1 increased 32%. Advertisers that took advantage of these trends also benefited from lower advertising costs. If you are not able to analyze your customer data and digital channels, do not panic. We can help. Most importantly, focus on strategic opportunities for growth.

Digital has high ROI and can be DIY.

The marketing landscape has completely changed since the last recession. Digital channels – from social media to marketing automation -- have become proven tactics for targeting prospects, and perfect for small and medium-sized businesses. Not only are they less expensive than traditional vehicles, they also offer the ability to refine your approach with more personalized messaging. With targeted campaigns, we have had a lot of success with lookalike targeting, focusing on audiences with the same demographics as current customers, and retargeting to prospects who didn’t convert on their first visit to a website. Consider these Facebook case studies to learn more.

Let’s chart a path forward.

Uncertainty is unsettling for us all. Yet change from where we are today is likely a good thing. We are here to help you navigate these challenging times.

  • We can help you analyze your prospects for growth given an economic slowdown
  • We can help you identify your best prospects and devise a marketing plan that delivers the right message to them at the right time
  • We can help you build a digital marketing program that grows quality leads and drives growth
  • As the economy opens back up, and we see increases in consumer confidence and consumer spending, we can help you uncover the good news and be your steady partner in a sea of change.