It’s incredible how quickly the economy can change. Just a few months ago, American companies were looking at a bright future full of growth and optimism. Now, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed everything.
Many employees have been sent home from work with no pay. Businesses of all sizes are suffering. Interest rates are being lowered, and even the government is preparing the public for a potential recession.
In times like these, many businesses feel the urge to reduce production, marketing, and hiring. However, we’re here to present a different side of the story – how you can market well in a slow economy.
Your business should be ramping up, not down in 2020.
We might be in an economic downturn, but you’d be surprised to see how much space that’s opening up for your company to fill. As Warren Buffet says, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
Now is not the time to back down, but rather to embrace new tactics.
Here are the tips and tricks that will allow you to market your brand, even during the coming recession.
Provide Hope and Education
In times of crisis, people are desperate for answers. In the face of COVID-19, people are wondering about their job outlook, financial stability, or overall well-being.
What people need more than anything in times of uncertainty is a source of knowledgeable positivity.
Fortunately, your brand can be that source for your industry and customers. Don’t be a brand that incites fear – be a sunny ray of hope instead.
For example, many people have been feeling apprehensive about their new remote-work solutions. Businesses are frantically trying to set up work-from-home environments, but it can be difficult to adapt to new software and procedures so quickly.
Enter Microsoft Teams. When you watch their advertisement, you don’t feel panic and uncertainty about changing job scenarios.
Regardless of what industry your company is in, you can find a way to provide a light during the dark times of an economic recession. Give people hope to cling to and solutions that will pull them through the challenges of today.
Give Your Customers Something New
When the economy is slow, your marketing needs to be quick. It’s hard enough to advertise to a public that fears for the future, but it is possible – especially when your company has something new and innovative to offer.
Image Source: Chipotle
Take a look at this new offer from Chipotle, one of America’s favorite restaurant chains. You’d think that now is the time people are staying at home and cooking on their own, and you’re right for the most part.
However, Chipotle found a way around this economic switch to spending less at restaurants. The brand is now offering free delivery until the end of March and openly states that this is a result of the coronavirus.
Not only does this marketing strategy keep the business afloat by finding new ways to turn a profit, but it also offers something new to the average Chipotle fan. They can obtain their favorite meal without leaving the safety of their home, and they get the feeling that Chipotle wants to serve them even during a serious pandemic.
Chipotle’s not exactly being “greedy” like Buffet advised, but it’s showing that it has a firm place against its competitors, even in times of trouble. Can your business do the same?
Learn to Market Differently
It goes without saying that marketing during a booming economy is different than marketing in a slow one. People are thinking about money differently and cutting down on their spending. Therefore, your marketing techniques need to keep up with this mindset.
This doesn’t mean cutting down on marketing. In fact, it can mean the opposite: ramping up marketing in smarter ways.
Image Source: Search Engine Journal
Take a look at this image from the Search Engine Journal. In a time when people are holding their funds close and dialing back their expenses, this brand is explaining why SEO services are still necessary, even during an anxiety-inducing pandemic.
If you want to survive in a slow economy with confounding variables like a world-wide illness, you’ll need to ensure that your marketing proves the true worth of your service. Explain to people why your product/service is important, even when times are tough.
The number one mistake many brands make is assuming that no one will want to spend money with them during an economic downturn. Don’t make assumptions – prove to your audience that your brand is stronger than ever and able to provide continuous value.
Plus, you’ll beat out some of the competition simply by fighting the fight when others have backed down due to fear and uncertainty.
Build Personal Relationships with Your Customers
Between panic buying, work-from-home situations, and the overall uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak, people are extremely anxious. Even if they aren’t struggling to make ends meet, most of your customers are likely feeling nervous about what the future has to offer.
Now, more than ever, is the time to ramp up your engagement with customers. Build relationships with new and old buyers to prove that your business will have their back as much as possible during the chaos.
People are looking for brands they can trust right now. Meet them halfway, if not more.
Look at Barclays. Although they could continue to function as normal during this time, they’ve come out with a variety of ways to help people affected by the pandemic or the resulting economy.
Image Source: Barclays
Their focus on supporting customers gives their brand value, and as the economy continues to change, people will remember what this brand did for them.
Consider Changing Your Cancellation Policies
In an economy like today’s, so much is up in the air. People are wondering if they’ll have a job next month or if they’ll be directly impacted by the virus – and that leads to a lot of uncertainty when it comes to making purchases that will extend into the coming months.
That’s why the travel and entertainment industries have to adapt to the changing economic status. When people are uncertain, don’t give up. Instead, assuage their fears with better cancellation and protection policies.
Take a look at this Instagram ad from Book VIP Travel.
Because of the coronavirus (and people’s fear about losing money right now), the brand is offering exceptional cancelation fees and change policies.
As an avid traveler, you’d feel much better booking a vacation in three months if you know you can cancel it should the economy take a turn for the worse – or if you were to get sick.
These are hard times for many industries, but if you can adapt your policies to better fit the current situation and fickle mind of the average buyer, you’ll continue to survive in this damaged economy.
It’s no secret that the economy is changing right now. With an impending recession and general fear in the public, many companies are backing off.
But when others start to surrender, it’s time for your brand to double down!
Great marketing shines in times of chaos.
Use this time to focus on your marketing strategies and evolve to fit the needs of the current buyer. You’ll have the benefit of competing against fewer businesses, and in many cases, you’ll actually grow during a challenging time.
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.