Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Marketing Updates During a Pandemic," revisits variables businesses should consider in light of marketing during an ongoing pandemic, aka COVID-19. The medical community has taken a cautionary position due to the rise of new variants now overtaking countries worldwide. In a nutshell, scientists are examining the long-term impact these variants will have on the recovery in terms of health and business. The good news is that President Biden has suggested that all Americans will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by May 2021. That said, we continue to be committed to helping our communities persevere. Our nation's economy, currently underwater, is in a recession. The upside is that the COVID Relief Bill will inject nearly 2 trillion dollars into the economy along with vaccination efforts.
Our Quote of the Day: "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time." – Henry Ford
The world's financial leaders and the White House COVID-19 Response Team say that a global slowdown is already underway. That said, some remedies can help us restore confidence and, ultimately, the global financial markets. Again, in terms of marketing, this is not the time to reduce marketing budgets. Now may be the time to increase marketing budgets and keep messaging and communications in front of prospects and customers. Consumer confidence is returning, and it's critical to remember that in the Great Recession of 2008, GM, Chrysler, and Ford all lost market share, while Hyundai and Kia increased market share. Consider that historical blunder as a note to the wise.
To Advertise or Pull Back
The Great Recession of 2008 taught us two fundamental advertising lessons. One, consumer confidence is the number one barometer of sales measurement. And, two, those that choose to go dark with advertising generally lose market share. In 2008, ad spending in the US dropped by 13%. Other mediums that were down included newspaper ad spending down 27%, radio down by 22%, magazines down 18%, out-of-home down 11%, television down by 5%, and online down by 2%. Keep in mind that the internet and social media were beginning to come of age.
However, many studies cumulatively covering one century references distinct advantages of ongoing advertising during a weak economy. The advertisers that chose to continue or expand their advertising efforts grew sales and market share, both during the recession and after the recession ended.
Therefore, in short, and according to a famous adage, "When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise."
More Reasons To Advertise
Brad Adgate, Independent Media Consultant, offers insight as to why advertising during a slowdown is an excellent idea with these points:
The "noise level" in a brand's product category can drop when competitors cut back on their ad spend. It also allows advertisers to re-position a brand or introduce a new product. Brands can project to consumers the image of corporate stability during challenging times.
The cost of advertising drops during recessions. The lower rates create a "buyer's market" for brands. Studies have shown that direct mail advertising can provide significant short-term sales growth and increase during a recession.
When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its "share of mind" with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales. An increase in "share of voice" typically leads to increased "share of market." An increase in market share increases profits.
Adgate believes that there are more reasons to advertise than not during an economic downturn, primarily due to competitive and market behavior.
Short Term Objectives
The ongoing discussion regarding stimulus packages references the ability to provide quick relief and short-term economic fixes. That said, we have no precedence for a pandemic of this size. There is no roadmap for the financial challenges we will face. We cannot predict how long it will take to get this disease under control, nor when we will have a truly 100% effective vaccine, or when the economy will recover.
In light of these unprecedented challenges and the ongoing effort to experience short-term fixes, it would behoove all advertisers to take advantage of direct mail marketing to stem losses and shore up any short-term gains.
If the decision is to continue advertising, brand marketers need to ensure that all messaging provides a calming effect. All messages should be clear, concise, and accurate. Brands that take the extra time to communicate reassuring messages will fare better with short-run and long-run sales initiatives. It is also vital to offer clients and customers communications to know how your brand is adjusting and managing during the crisis. Customers value updates, ongoing messaging, and open dialogue. These touch-points go a long way toward making them feel that your brand does care. Further, when the population-at-large continues to see advertising and marketing messages, that visual experience provides a calming effect.
Companies should continue to market their offerings during a pandemic. It is not the time to reduce or stop advertising. If anything, you should not only stay the course, you may want or need to increase the advertising spend. The goal should be to hold onto market share, mine for competitive opportunities, and assure the public that you will be here long after the crisis. We also recommend that everyone follow the experts' advice regarding this pandemic. We are called to help one another, be our best selves, and know that we will get through this together. Thanks for reading "Marketing Updates During a Pandemic!"
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