B2B marketing in an economic crisis
B2B marketing in an economic crisis
We can all agree that 2020 so far has been extraordinarily strange! The impact of COVID-19 has been a shock and had a huge and sudden impact on businesses across the globe.
As a business providing marketing services, we’ve been conscious that businesses are tightening their belts in these unprecedented times, and marketing budgets are often the first to be cut in any time of financial difficulty.
But how detrimental will ‘going dark’ be to your brand in the long run? We’ve been talking to our clients and analysing how and what we can all be doing to keep moving forward in these difficult times.
Seize the opportunity
Evidence portrays that companies that maintain investment in their marketing activities throughout tough financial times subsequently generate higher growth than those that cut back on their budgets or ‘went dark’ [WARC, Advertising in a Downturn].
Whilst your competitors reduce their marketing spend and efforts, you have the opportunity to improve your market share. Maintaining your voice in a quieter market can put your ahead of your competition.
This situation isn’t going to last forever, so keeping your business in people’s minds will help you stand out from competitors when some sort of normality returns.
“You run a marketing agency; you would say that!”
Of course, cutbacks will be necessary, and a large advertising budget won’t be a priority over ensuring continuation of your payroll. We know because we’ve had to be stringent ourselves! But keep your brand going wherever possible, because if your brand starts to go stale it’ll be extremely difficult to revive your business when the economy starts to bounce back.
It’s a time to objectively look at your spending and your marketing stats. What has brought the most return on your investment in the past? Has it changed in the current situation? If so, how can you spend more wisely or utilise other ‘free’ channels to maintain or even grow visibility of your brand?
So how can we all ensure our marketing continues in these times with little or no budget - we’ve been chatting to our clients to find out their plans…
Utilise digital channels
With the current confinement to our homes, now could be a good time to review your marketing channels. We are all using digital channels more as a way of communicating, whether it be through conference calling or social media.
According to a recent survey by IZEA, 66% of social media users believe their social media usage habits will increase significantly in confinement to home as a result of the current crisis. So there’s potential to utilise these free channels even more than before to keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds through the promotion of entertaining and informative content.
But don’t piggyback on a crisis
It’s a sensitive time for everyone, and businesses that roll out campaigns that monopolise on a bad situation will only be met with negative brand association. It’s a fine line between being helpful and flogging off the back of a crisis!
Instead use the time to share interesting content with your target audience, something that entertains whilst keeping your brand in the minds of your audience.
Luckily for us, our clients appreciate the importance of maintaining their marketing activities. In fact, many of them are keen to use this period as a time to ‘Spring Clean’ everything associated with their business, to put them in good stead for the future.
They want to utilise some of this extra ‘down time’ to look at their strategy and what they could be doing better, reviewing areas that they normally don’t have as much time to focus on.
They are looking at improving their websites, analysing gaps in their content, seeing how they can utilise their social media channels more effectively, and even overhauling their overall visual branding and documentation. These things are so important to maintain a strong brand but often fall down the list with a previously rapidly changing working environment.
Your customers are your best asset
Regardless of the industry, your customer base is one of your most valuable assets during tough times. Maintaining loyalty throughout difficult periods will strengthen your businesses when you come out on the other side. Customers will never forget those who stood by them in difficult times and will repay you with future recommendations and customer loyalty.
We realise many businesses will be under immense pressure to keep afloat and the marketing strategy may not be at the forefront of priorities right now. If there is opportunity to keep going, have a think about how your marketing can help support this.
We hope all businesses out there, small and large, get through these tough times. Our thoughts are with everyone.