Marketing your way through the great Covid crisis

Business Insights

With Covid-19 set to spark the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, new research by the World Federation of Advertisers says 89% of large international companies have put their marketing and advertising campaigns on hold.

During these times of financial strain, we can see a similar picture for SMEs: marketing, often seen as more a luxury than a core necessity, becomes one of the first overheads on the chopping board.

Whilst cutting marketing spend to preserve the viability of the most essential business operations may seem an obvious measure, the importance of maintaining some type of marketing output during the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be overstated.

Here are ten reasons why maintaining your marketing presence during this period is so important, and how to most effectively do so on a reduced budget:

    1) Simply put, failure to market yourself at all during this period may well lead to the assumption that you have folded. In current circumstances, a brand’s silence will lead to a vacuum – and one that will quickly get filled with the perception you are no longer trading.

    By continuing to produce content and output – even just the absolute bare bones - you are letting your customers you know you remain open for business.

    2) It must be assumed that your competition will be continuing to market themselves throughout this period. Ultimately, after the Covid period, it is the brand that has maintained a marketing presence throughout that consumers will remember and be drawn too.

    3) It may go without saying, but for those SMEs whose current budgets may limit them to only one method of B2C marketing during the pandemic, social is the way forward.

    According to data insights company Kantar, social media engagement has increased by 61% over normal usage since Covid-19 broke out – making it the best possible means of communicating with and marketing to your customers right now.

    4) According to a new report from UK-based performance agency Attain, influencers and Instagram creators are losing on average 33% of their revenue due to Covid-19.

    Coupled with the loss of revenue for influencers is the increase in numbers of those scanning Instagram during lockdown. The result therefore is a great opportunity to take advantage of influencer marketing at lower-than-usual cost to a larger-than-usual audience.

    5) From a B2B perspective, many businesses will be taking this time to take stock of current operations and plan ahead. This current period of reflection is therefore a golden opportunity to be marketing yourself, in the knowledge that many businesses may be looking to shake up the way they do things.

    6) Remember that it is remarkably cheap and simple to continue marketing your company or product in some means – even with no budget at all. All you need is a camera phone.

    The content doesn’t need to be ground-breaking – you could simply talk about what is going on in your business, the current state of the market or what you are doing with staff. Doing so will ensure all key stakeholders are kept up to date with developments, whilst you continue to demonstrate outward confidence in the brand.

    7) When producing content for your customers, don’t be afraid that your marketing efforts during Covid-19 will appear budget and low-grade in comparison to your usual set up. Those you engage with will understand that it is a lot harder to produce slick content under the current circumstances.

    8) Diversity is key. If you have a slightly larger business (in SME terms), take advantage of your staff and their creative offerings. Ask your staff to create their own marketing content for your channels – this will empower them to get creative and take the pressure off you. It will also offer a great insight into not only the makeup of your workforce, but also into how they are being supported and adapting through this period.

    9) Even if your creative juices have run completely dry, there are ways in which previous marketing campaigns and assets can be rehashed and given a new lease of life.

    By revisiting a previous campaign to explore how it developed and worked out, who it benefited, what the outcomes were and what has happened since, you can add a new angle and perspectives to old content.

    10) Nobody could have predicted Covid-19 and the knock-on effects for SMEs, but this period has served as a reminder to always plan ahead, including with your marketing content. Building up a bank of content in advance is one way of ensuring that you always have a ‘rainy day’ supply in reserve.

Lewis Hackney, Founder of Etch’d