We find ourselves at a crossroad. Covid-19 is causing chaos across the globe which in turn has sparked a severe level of panic. Economies are shrinking and businesses are looking at ways to cut their expenditure to mitigate the overall impact.
The one avenue they always look at first is Marketing. This is not the best of ideas in our opinion.
Within crisis lies opportunity
In South Africa, Apartheid features quite a bit. More so than most issues. During this time, heavy sanctions were placed on the country and many businesses had to pull out.
An example being Pepsi, which was the largest supplier of soft drinks at the time. The brand was massive and Coca-Cola wasn’t as prominent. In the middle of the hardships, Pepsi left the country where Coca-Cola stayed. The bans were lifted when we became a democratic country and Coca-Cola, 30 years later is the dominant brand.
Coca-Cola didn’t stop their efforts during troubled times and it paid off for them in the end. In South Africa, Pepsi is far from popular. Yes, they have a presence but their market share is a fraction of their competitors.
This is a potential problem that businesses don’t take into account or aren’t even aware of. What happens when this Covid-19 saga ends? You end up losing the marketing and brand value that you had built and this impact can be long-lasting. Businesses need to keep marketing their brands and not losing the value or equity that they have.
The risk, as Pepsi saw with Coca-Cola, there will be competitors who don’t stop their marketing activities and continue with SEO, Paid Media and other marketing activities to keep their business afloat. Slowly, they will chip away at your market share.
Then, once everything has blown over and you try to get your marketing efforts back, you start from scratch re-building your value and trying to get going but unfortunately, your efforts will not be the same.
We were just talking about this issue with one of our clients. They stopped SEO completely and to their surprise, within a month they had already felt the negative impact.
What do we do instead?
The reason, as mentioned above, that people put marketing on hold is because of budget concerns which are completely valid. We don’t dispute this at all. However, we do need to look at the impact of cancelling marketing and what this means to the business term versus not cancelling.
Have a look at your overall marketing activities and move costs around. Digital, for example, is a far more cost-effective, measurable and impactful long term than say, magazine ads. SEO is one avenue that you can exploit during this period to really get your brand going and improve your rankings.
To start seeing results, move your budget to these avenues where you see large impacts in your marketing efforts. Gaining visibility in search engines can be a game-changer for your business, especially if your competitors slow down their marketing efforts.
It is a challenging time
By no means are we aiming to downplay the current situation of Covid-19 and we believe that it is something that we need to take seriously but we also need to look at the opportunities and keep business going as usual.
By stopping marketing activities we limit our growth as well as allow our competitors who see this an opportunity to ramp up their marketing activities and gain more market share.
We also need to prepare for when this Covid-19 does end, which will happen. N1H1 Virus, Ebola, SARS and crisis ended and business went forward as if nothing happened.
Here at Elemental, we have put in all measures to ensure that our staff are safe, comfortable and able to work remotely or in the office. We are going to be working as per normal, with all hands on deck to continue delivering our results.
In the end, marketing should never ever end. It doesn’t stop, nor should you.