DO NOT PANIC: MARKETING DURING CORONAVIRUS IS NOT A TIME TO STOP

Rich Henrich Business

Feeling anxious is understandable. The fear of the unknown can become overwhelming if you allow your mind to focus on all of the things that are out of your control. It’s easy to say “everything is shut down” and “no one is doing business” and a million other words the hive mind of hysteria will repeat, regurgitate and spin into reality. However, while it may be true that a lot of elements of doing business are out of your control, this isn’t so different than any given day of doing business. Many things are out of our control but when we are operating our businesses during “normalcy” do we focus on everything that is out of our control? No, we focus on what is within our control because business is about doing what you do- even when you cannot do all of it. So, when it comes to marketing, why do so many businesses hit the breaks hard on their marketing spend during a crisis?

Research and historical data have proven over time (time and again), that the businesses- small and big- who continue to market their product and services during a period of crisis, experience higher sales and revenue than those who panic. At RookSEO.com, our clients face challenges across all industries and demographics. We encourage our clients to be mindful of the investment they have already made in their digital marketing efforts. Whether it is a PPC campaign, a deep SEO and Search Marketing Strategy or the investment made in creating revenue through E-Commerce solutions, hitting the breaks on marketing spend can be detrimental to your business health. In fact, many businesses that stop spending on marketing find themselves further behind the curve of competition once markets return. This puts them in a desperate scenario and one that often has tragic unintended consequences. Businesses that stop marketing during a crisis often are not able to rebound. Their dreams collapse. Employees are let go. The community loses. The customers lose. The owners and investors lose.

According to a Forbes article, “When a Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising,” by Brad Adgate (Sept. 5, 2019), in the 1920s, Post brand cereal was the market leader. Post cut back their advertising and marketing budget significantly. Meanwhile, Tony the Tiger and rival Kellogg’s brand cereal doubled their budget, investing heavily on radio (we like to call it the internet of their time!) and launched a new product that “Snapped,” “Crackled,” and “Popped.” Their profits grew over 30% and the long term gain, of course, was becoming a new market leader. This is a position that has remained for them for several decades now. This was accomplished during a crisis, during the Great Depression.

In the recession of 1990-91, McDonald’s decided to cut their advertising and marketing budget. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell opted for a different strategy. While global brand and market leader, McDonald’s watched sales decline 28%, Pizza Hut increased theirs by 61%! Taco Bell increased its market share while boosting sales by 40%! And in 2009, a company called Amazon grew sales by 28% as they innovated new products and launched Kindle into the hands of millions. Christmas 2009, marked the first time Amazon customers purchased more e-books than printed books.

At a minimum, if you are currently following best practices and allocating 10% of gross revenues on marketing, then maintain at least 5% of your normal spend on marketing. We understand that many businesses may find themselves without gross revenues altogether. Some may be faced with paying for marketing or another critical expense that needs to be covered. Maybe it comes down to you not paying an employee or not paying yourself in order to have a budget. We understand hard choices must be made when you are the leader. One assist, perhaps the most valuable asset many owners and managers forget they have, is time. While business is slow, invest in the basic knowledge to understand how you can set up and adjust your GMB (Google My Business) listing or other free tools available to help businesses. Whatever choice you make, do not panic and do not stop your marketing efforts. Otherwise, you are working against the very goals of staying in business. We are American businesses and we must continue in the traditions of those companies, brands, and businesses who came before us and lived to pass on the wisdom. It is essential that we rise together and innovate so that we may continue to be part of the critical fabric of our communities and countries. Now, get to it! We’re here if you need help, RookSEO.com.