Are you thinking about reducing your company’s advertising during the Coronavirus pandemic? Here’s why you shouldn’t.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is currently affecting not only our healthcare system but our economy as well. In times like these, businesses have to shift the way they operate to sustain their ability to come out on the other side. For many of us, this means reducing spending, as a means of ensuring that we have the resources to endure. Typically, advertising is one of the first budgets to be cut or altogether removed, as it isn’t viewed as “essential” to operations. However, this is not always in the best interests of the company.
Consumer Behavior Patterns In Canada
As the world attempts to adapt to this new reality, we have seen three key behavior patterns amongst Canadians:
- More individuals are self-isolating, leading to an increase in their media consumption, with the largest rise being their usage of digital media.
- They are relying more on and more on social media as both a source of news and a way to stay connected.
- Conversation about key topics (beauty, health and food) is still happening, and thus, still top of mind for consumers.
What does this all mean? Well, it’s an opportunity to keep your brand relevant, at a time when you might think it’s difficult to do so. If you’re a business that’s still currently in operation but your customers don’t know, your revenue will still decline. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to invest in getting that information out? This is a fragile time for many consumers so a crucial factor will be figuring out your company’s role at the moment and how you can best serve your customers and potential customers. As we mentioned in our social media article called, “How to Stay Connected With Customers on Social Media During Covid-19” you don’t want to appear to be taking advantage of the situation.
Now Is The Time To Maintain A Digital Presence
You might have to adjust the way you previously advertised, in order to execute a predominantly digital strategy. A survey conducted in March 2020 showed that 40% of Canadians intended to shop online, as opposed to in-store, a 6% increase from February 2020. This has been proven by the fact that more consumers are visiting e-commerce sites. The format is even attracting users who previously shunned the method (such as older audiences) and who may, after all of this, not switch back, now that they’ve experienced the benefits of online shopping.
Short Term Benefits of Online Marketing
In the short-term, investing in promoting your business could result in the following benefits:
- Stand Out from your competitors: If most of your competitors reduce or completely eliminate their advertising budget, and you maintain yours, you will be able to increase your presence and visibility in the market, meaning that your company is the one that consumers think about when they need your offerings.
- Improve perception of your brand: Since your company is able to advertise during the rough times, it will give consumers the proper impression that your company is more stable and solid and therefore more dependable.
- Increase your brand’s attractiveness: If you are able to offer incentives (such as discounts or promotions), based on what your consumers need, it will make your brand even more attractive to them in this period.
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Long Term Benefits of Online Marketing
The long-term benefits could be even more lucrative for your business:
- Increased market share: If you are able to continue advertising during the crisis, and increase your brand awareness, then it will be more difficult for your competitors to regain the ground they lost, leading to you having more market share than before.
- Increased brand familiarity: By keeping your name out in the market, people will become more familiar with your brand and what you have to offer. It’s likely that your company will be top of mind and customers will come to you first, rather than your competition.
- Increased brand equity: If you are able to successfully communicate during the pandemic and deliver what your consumers need, then once this has passed, consumers will retain a positive impression of your brand, leading to stronger brand equity.
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Real Examples Of Company’s Who Succeeded in Tough Times with Marketing
Kellogg’s vs Post
Evidence indicates that maintaining your market presence works. The proof is in the pudding – er – cereal. In the late 1920s, two brands battled for cereal supremacy in the United States: Kellogg’s and Post. When the Great Depression hit, Post scaled back it’s advertising but Kellogg’s went the opposite way: they doubled their advertising budget. By 1933, Kellogg’s profit had risen by 30% and they became the dominant brand in the cereal world, which still holds true even today, so many decades later.
The Launch of Taobao
To further prove that fortune favours the bold, we just have to look at the launch of Taobao in China, which occurred during the SARS pandemic. The CEO of Alibaba wanted to have a competitor to e-Bay in China but the development and launch of the site occurred in the midst of the SARS outbreak. In fact, Alibaba’s entire workforce had been quarantined at home when work on Taobao began. Rather than hold off or delay the project, Taobao was launched, with a complete marketing complement, to great success in China: it eventually forced e-Bay to close up shop and withdraw from the Chinese market.
Promote Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Should you plan to keep communicating with your target audience during the Covid-19 pandemic, we ask that you remember one thing: do so with empathy. As Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba and founder of Taobao said during the SARS outbreak: “No one should think of this as an opportunity, but should think of what obstacles people are encountering and how we can do our best effort to help them!”
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