Right now, we are facing the storm of an economy that is suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, we are also in the eye of the next storm: the full reopening of the economy and the subsequent flooding of marketing and advertising from every brand that scaled back or stopped marketing during the outbreak.
When this happens, there will a lot of competition for limited dollars. And it won’t just be your normal competition, i.e., people that sell similar products or services. The competition is going to be coming from everywhere.
Every brand is going to be hitting customers hard with deals and promotions to make up for the disruption.
When that happens, it is important to be mindful of the fact that consumers are currently dealing with strained finances and are spending money on the most essential products and services that are currently available. Even when they are given the go-ahead to return to normal spending, they may need time to rebuild their cash reserves.
With less money to spend and more options to choose from on what to spend it on, the competition will feel even more intense.
The important thing to remember is to be patient, because the rest of 2020 will be a marathon, not a sprint.
Here are a few tips for getting your marketing into shape for the marathon ahead:
- Keep moving forward.
You worked hard to build momentum at the beginning of the year. If your business has remained open throughout the outbreak, you may find yourself scaling back on some of your normal activities, but your marketing should continue moving forward to help you keep some of that momentum going.
This will help alleviate some of the potential damage and disruption to your business now, as well as help you build a foundation to help you navigate the long-term.
For more tips on setting yourself up for long-term marketing success, check out our new series: “The Future of Direct Marketing.” Information is available at the end of this post.
- Maintain a steady pace.
We all know the old adage, “slow and steady wins the race.” It may sound cliché, but this will be especially true in the upcoming marketing marathon.
Everyone will be looking to make up for lost time, and it will be easy to go overboard with promotional emails, direct mail, social media, and other marketing media as you try to get your messages and offers in front of people.
If you go too heavy on promotions and discounts at the onset, you will certainly get some immediate sales, but this may not necessarily help you in the long run. You may risk tiring yourself or your customers out, at a time when you will need the energy to keep getting consistent sales throughout the year.
Instead, try to space out your promotions so that you will get continue getting steady sales and keep your brand top-of-mind all year long.
- Understand that your product may not be the first priority.
After weeks of only spending money on food and other essential items as needed or allowed, when consumers have discretionary money again they may be a little more frugal with it.
Their priorities may be based on things they have gone without during that time. It may be important to them to first return to their personal care/beauty routine before returning to work, then focusing on different entertainment activities to makeup for a lack of socialization in the last few weeks. Then, they may be able to start thinking about other expenses.
This will be great for marketers in these businesses, especially in the short-term, but it is not bad for marketers in other businesses, either. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Try to remain patient, because even if your product or service isn’t an immediate priority or even a priority for a while, your customers will eventually return to you.
If you use this time to maintain your connection with your customers by providing value to them now, they will remember it later, and may return to you sooner.
Note: Recent reports indicate that the opening of the economy will likely move the same way as the shut down: capacity will increase in increments until things are back at full capacity, and for closed businesses, the ones deemed more essential will be given the go-ahead to reopen first.
Depending on where your product or service falls into that category, this may be another factor as to when more normal spending levels will return.
The Bottom Line
Though many businesses are dealing with the effects of the disruption, that does not mean the whole year is lost. If you work on getting your marketing into shape now, you will be prepared for the marathon ahead.
Does your fiscal year end during the middle of the calendar year? Let us know, and we will help you strategize how you can still hit your goals, too.