Marketing In Time Of Crisis

As we scramble to understand the times that we are living in today and navigate through uncharted territory, all business owners are committed to keep their responsibility to remain open for not only  their customers but also for their employees.

We have to acknowledge the fact that there is a different uncertainty and fear in the marketplace. Millions of food service employees are in limbo for a few weeks, a lot of big businesses sent their employees to work from home, etc. So what is there for a business owner and/or marketing director to do?

Our economy is a beautiful nice lean machine where anyone can achieve the American dream of owning  their own business, but history has taught us that there has been an economic slow down about every 10 years. It is during these periods that the leaders strive and there are some unfortunate closing of businesses.

When panic sets in, most businesses start making decisions to cut costs and play it safe. Most of the time the first couple of things to go are the marketing/advertising budget and they put a freeze in hiring new people. The challenge is for business owners to see that challenging times are also times of opportunity. 

So let’s talk about the marketing and advertising aspect;

We all know the basic economic principle “Supply and Demand” When business is good, every business ready or not wants to advertise, creating a tight inventory at the broadcasting stations. And I said ready or not, because unfortunately there is a lot of “me too “ mentality that goes on. If my competitor is doing it, then I must do it too. However, there should always be a well thought process and market position analysis before pulling the trigger. 

Typically when there is a crisis or economic slowdown, businesses that don’t know or understand their position on the market start canceling or stopping their marketing efforts in order to save money right away. Unfortunately, that might not always be the right call. Bluntly speaking you can say that in marketing you can be in the lead, follow or get out of the way position at any given time. If you are the leader and stop sending your message you lose the lead (market share), if you are a follower and you stop as well, the leader gets further ahead of you and finally, let’s not talk too much about the self-explanatory get out of the way position.

Over the next few months, most business owners will realize that the world did not end and will gear up again to fight the market share war.

So the question remains: “What should a business owner do in regards to marketing and advertising now?

I give an example:  Back in 2008, when I was managing a station, one of our top advertisers called and asked for us to go see him, I immediately assumed that he was going to cancel and I kept asking myself why? He is a prominent business owner and has several locations and so I immediately started thinking of how I was going to sell all of the available inventory. At the meeting He informed us that He wanted to increase his monthly investment during the following 3 months, needless to say I was baffled. He proceeded to say “I know that not many people are buying furniture right now, but as soon as this passes they will start buying again and guess who is going to be in their mind when they start looking? ME”

If you have the means don’t stop advertising, this could be a great opportunity to gain market share now and when this passes, which it will and not to mention that you might be able to score some really good deals in additional investments.

If you are restricted on your funds, maybe cut back a little bit but don’t stop. Remember that it is harder to start pushing an idled car than to move one already in motion.

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