Published On: Wed, Apr 15th, 2020

Marketing in a crisis: It’s time to change your strategy

Andrew Scott, CEO of Purplex Marketing, discusses how companies should manage their marketing and comms during and after a crisis 

As Britain faces a national crisis with the Coronavirus, organisations have taken urgent action to adapt their business operations with most going on lockdown or running with a skeleton team. 

For many business leaders the conversations are starting to turn to the ‘recovery’. One question I’ve been asked repeatedly over the last few weeks is what companies should do about their marketing activity during and after this crisis.

Many business owners are worried about the messages they are putting out, the costs of maintaining marketing activity during a slow-down, and conversely the impact to revenues if marketing is reduced.

We don’t know how long it will take for normal business to resume, but when it does one thing is for sure. The decisions you make in the days and weeks ahead are likely to have a lasting impact on your business.

Being sensitive to the current situation is an absolute must, but knee-jerk reactions and cutting marketing communications could be catastrophic in the longer term. 

Radio Silence

Now is NOT the time to have radio silence. During the crisis itself, focus on your brand visibility and building trust with your customers and future customers. Remember they are also facing uncertainty and right now they are looking for reassurance and information from you, or your competitors.

The reality is that many people now have more time on their hands, so they are more likely to review information and research products, services and suppliers. The Guardian newspaper recently reported a surge in demand for home improvements and garden-related goods, while Google search traffic remains strong and certain keywords, such as ‘Home Office’ have rocketed.

Forced together for weeks at a time, families will be prioritising more space at home rather than long-distance holidays. So, it VITAL you remain visible and engage with enquiries.

Planning for the recovery

The current crisis won’t last forever. Putting the marketing pieces in place right now will give you more traction as normality returns and your competitors are still wondering what to do.

Now is the time to build your sales pipeline, connect with potential customers and think about your products and brand.

Having some down-time is the perfect opportunity to update your website, your marketing collateral, your sales tools and formulate a really cohesive marketing strategy so you can move quickly to drive revenue and acquire market share when the time is right. Indeed, with a notable reduction in digital ad spend already, you may discover your advertising produces better results than ever. 

Make no mistake. The impact of the Coronavirus will be with us for years. Many of your competitors will now retrench; cut their marketing activity and staff levels and go into ‘survival’ mode. Others will sadly struggle and fold.  

However, there will also be new opportunities. Supply chains will shift, new brands will emerge, and product demand will change. Many companies will rethink their routes to market and diversify.

The truth is, a crisis of this nature is a leveller for most industries. Having a cool head and preparing your business now for the recovery will safeguard your business, employees and customers as the market returns.

This is an incredibly difficult time and our thoughts are with those affected by this virus and those facing the impact of it, both as business leaders and employees. At Purplex are teams are working remotely to support customers and keep the wheels turning, and we are here to support any organisation unsure how to manage their communications at this difficult time.”