Keeping the conversation going with your customers.
What history shows us is that brands that go dark during times of economic downturn come out the other end with less market share, less sales, and less profit. Here’s what we’ve seen:
- Kellogg’s: Increased ad budget during The Great Depression and saw a 30% increase in profits, surpassing top competitor Post and emerging as the dominant ready-to-eat cereal brand post depression.
- Toyota: Raised ad spending and surpassed Volkswagen as the #1 imported car maker in the US in the years after a recession in the 70s.
- Amazon: Drove new product innovations including the launch of the Kindle and emerged from the 2008 recession with 28% more sales.
That said, these are the largest brands in the world. We realize it’s not as easy as it sounds, and we would be remiss to assume that all businesses during times of crisis have the horsepower to support large marketing initiatives.
So, as a small to midsize business, how can you downsize your strategy in a way that still keeps the communication going with your customers?
Prioritize the strategies and tactics that:
Allow for cash preservation: Lean on organic media channels and tactics more than ever. This can include redirecting resources to build more content and then sharing that content out across key social channels or focusing on SEO initiatives to attract customers organically. Taking advantage of advertising grants, such as the ones provided by Facebook or Google, is also a great way to keep your campaigns going with minimal cash investment.
Supplement organic initiatives: With organic channels playing a more important role than ever, your paid media channels should work hand-in-hand with those initiatives. If you’re able to ramp up your organic social presence, for example, it might make sense to consider running some paid social to boost those efforts. Or, if you have an increased focus on SEO, running paid search will allow your brand to remain top of mind.
Drive performance: If you’re going to slim down, you want to keep your top performing tactics that have historically worked for you. Also, you’ll want to consider any changes in your customer’s media consumption during this time to make sure you’re reaching where they’re going.
See: Your Customer Still Exists, They're Just At Home
Offer flexibility: Avoid programs that require dollars to be committed or guaranteed. Find partners who offer flexible cancellation policies, and who are able to work with you on a day by day basis to react to any and all news updates. Consolidating your spend to tactics that allow for real time optimizations will set your brand up for successful communication during this uncertain time period.
Deliver measurable outcomes: With consumers in a different mindset, we may have to test new messages that are more sensitive to the times, and that will resonate. With that, it’s critical that you select media channels that give you the best feedback loop to measure customer engagement.