Pandemic time – to advertise or not?

The coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed our daily lives. It has triggered an extensive chain reaction that has a huge impact on social and economic issues. It affected practically every industry, often causing panic and sudden decisions related to the further functioning of the company and the way it is run during the prevailing pandemic.

The changes that will be introduced in such a difficult period will be reflected soon and in the longer term. By taking any steps now, remember that they will not only transform your business while you isolate your existing and potential customers in their homes.

Don’t panic

The recommendation to stay at home is to contribute to eliminating the risk of further illness in society as soon as possible. These restrictions mean that some sectors, such as mass events, travel, or transport, have to practically suspend their activities. A sudden drop in the use of this type of service causes a difficult economic situation also in the industries that closely cooperate with them. One of the first costs to cut in this situation is marketing budgets. Reducing them is at first glance the easiest way to minimize spending in a recession. However, whether the sudden stopping of marketing activities or their drastic reduction will bring positive effects not only in times of economic downturn but also in the longer term? In many industries (but not all), regardless of whether you completely stop your marketing activities, reduce them to a minimum or only slightly reduce them, unfortunately, you will not avoid a decline in the profitability of your business. However, if you do not give up your marketing communication completely, you will earn a future increase in income, greater brand recognition, or an enhanced image of the brand. Every crisis has its end and when planning cuts in marketing investments in this difficult time, this aspect should also be taken into account.

Already during the previous economic crises, it has been observed that brands that continued to promote and shrink and even decided to increase their marketing budgets during the recession, saw substantial gains after the crises. By increasing their advertising expenditure by 48%, they were able to double their market share after the recession ended (source: “Options and Opportunities for Consumer Business: Advertising During a Recession”, by Alexander L. Biel and Stephen King).

Show your commitment

Running a type of business that cannot function at the moment due to restrictions (because, for example, you run a beauty salon or a hairdresser) does not mean that promoting your brand at this time is pointless. Resigning from conducting typical advertising communication (that is related to your product or service being offered) saved the money you donate to help financially supporting hospitals, organizing meals for physicians, providing products to needy institutions. It is equally important now to support your employees, who, not knowing how the coronavirus pandemic will affect their professional situation, need attention and be kept informed on issues related to the development of the situation and its impact on the future of the company.

By showing your existing clients how you care for your employees and how you engage in helping others in this difficult time, you build a positive image and even greater attachment to your company. However, for potential new customers, you become a trustworthy entrepreneur. Image-building activities are a strategic element of business promotion. Therefore, do not forget about them in times of crisis, because relatively small financial outlays incurred during this time will certainly pay off after the crisis.

Resignation or relocation?

You should also consider relocating advertising budgets. The declines in investments mostly affected the outdoor and cinema advertising segments. It is a natural symptom that we stayed in our homes by following the rulers’ recommendations. The recipients of our ads, however, did not disappear but shifted their attention to other media. The Internet has gained in importance and we now treat it as the main channel of contact with customers. Remember that by resigning from the outdoor advertising and not shifting communication to another channel, we lose the potential of gaining customers and building a brand. This could be even more damaging to your business’s future, if the competition will not give up advertising and image activities, and will even intensify them. With such a procedure, it will not only gain your potential new customers but will also most likely take over the existing ones.
Moving budgets from offline to online should be the main strategic move at this point, which will guarantee high exposure of communication (both advertising and image).

If to relocate, where?

Not only the Google search engine is recording a significant increase in queries, which prompts you to consider launching an advertising campaign in Google Ads.

According to the research of the GetHero Agency, dealing with, inter alia, cooperation with the creators of YouTube channels, since the closure of educational institutions, the number of views of films on the website has increased by over 30%. On the other hand, viewing time increased by almost 17%.

According to a report by the MediaCom group, already in the first week of March, when the restrictions related to the pandemic were not yet so restrictive, the number of users active on Facebook and Instagram has clearly increased.

The intensity of the use of instant messaging is also increasing. Their users spend more and more time on them and make more hits.

So regardless of the sector in which you run your business, these channels should now become your main method of marketing communication.

Pandemic and an increase in advertising budgets?

The shift of customers from offline to online is particularly evident in the e-commerce industry. Google Trends data shows the interest in online shopping in the search engine increased in March more than 20 times.

To avoid crowds of people, purchases will be made more and more in the online world. The Google search engine facilitates the process of finding the necessary product and it becomes an intermediary in making online purchases. Therefore, it is worth conducting Google Ads advertising activities that will allow your business to appear on the first page of search results.
In the case of e-commerce, the pandemic causes an increase in traffic and an increase in the number of orders (especially in the food, pharmaceutical, and drugstore sectors). Increased demand may result in more competition. Accordingly, greater marketing expenditure in this industry may prove necessary. A study conducted by GroupM shows that only from March 12 (when educational and cultural institutions were closed) to March 16, the e-commerce segment increased advertising spending by approximately 30%.

The transition from the traditional way of shopping to e-shopping in the current climate may change consumer habits permanently. A large part of the current e-shop customers are people who make this type of shopping for the first time, forced by the current situation. After the pandemic, such persons (if the amount of this change a positive experience ) may remain faithful to purchasing online. For e-commerce, it is, therefore, a time of increased work, both in terms of marketing and related to customer service and the orders themselves. E-commerce brands that will prepare the right online presence strategy can now not only limit sales drops but even gain a long-term competitive advantage.

Don’t be afraid of change!

It is natural for you to consider changes in communication with your clients and how to acquire new ones. The thought of reducing advertising budgets is also a natural instinct in the current situation. However, do not give up your marketing investments completely. Just change your communication plan. Find the right channels and the right way to replace typical advertising activities with those that fit the current situation.

Do you need help with organizing a new marketing strategy? Are you looking for alternative solutions for your business during a pandemic? Contact us! We will help you in conducting effective marketing communication.

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