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Should you keep marketing your business through the COVID-19 crisis?

Lois Ransome

By Lois Ransome

On Mar 30, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Businesses are being forced to close their doors, some are lucky enough to be able to operate from home, whilst others are desperately hoping Government grants will soon hit their accounts so they can continue to pay their staff.

Whatever your circumstances, all businesses (apart from toilet roll manufacturers!) are currently experiencing a drop in sales as a result of the economic shock. But we shouldn’t let coronavirus take all hope away, as there is always light at the end of the tunnel. To survive as businesses we just need to adapt, be clever with finances, continue to market and look after existing customers. 

What have we learnt from previous economic shocks?


When the 2008 financial crisis hit there were two kinds of companies:

  • Those who panicked, cut hard and fast, slashed budgets, made redundancies and halted all outgoing sales and marketing.
  • Those who made clever cuts, trimming the fat where they could, but continued with the activities that would benefit them in the long-term and ultimately get them growing again once the dust settled.

Which ones do you think survived? 

Thousands of businesses went under following the credit crunch (remember Woolworths?), but those that thrived did so because they were not afraid of change, they were clever, innovative and creative, and continued to invest in their existing marketing channels, as well as emerging technologies such as digital marketing. 

Wake up and smell the coffee


A great example of a company who rode the wave of the 2008 recession is Starbucks. With a higher price point than most coffee chains, Starbucks was hit hard by the economic slowdown, as customers opted for cheaper coffee chains. By March 2008 their profits had fallen 28% on the previous year. 

How did they respond? They used social media marketing to engage with their audiences, to create a community and build on brand reputation.

They developed a mobile app long before any of their competitors, with features such as a store locator, nutritional information and a rewards programme. 

They also launched a creative new initiative known as ‘MyStarbucksSignature’ that allowed consumers to develop their own signature drink, name it and share it online. 

Whilst these strategies don’t seem that innovative today, they were revolutionary back in 2008, especially at a time when businesses were struggling. 

Staying visible to your customers is more important than ever!


Your shop, office or workshop may be closed, but you can still promote your products and services online via digital marketing platforms, keeping your brand front of mind.

After all, if you’re not visible to existing and potential customers, people will assume you’re no longer trading and the moment lockdown is lifted they’ll be approaching your competitors and not you. 


Benefits of digital marketing


The whole nation is currently spending its time at home online via their laptop, tablet or smartphone, so digital marketing is a no-brainer. There are however a raft of other reasons why online marketing trumps traditional mediums as a means to raise awareness, communicate with audiences and generate sales.

  • It’s cost-effective - Costs for pay-per-click platforms such as Google and Facebook Ads can start from as little as a few pence. Plus as you only pay when someone clicks, you’re not wasting your budget exposing your message to people who aren’t interested.
  • Improved targeting - Online marketing platforms collect a ton of data from users, which you can use to target your marketing efforts exactly to the people you want to get in front of.
  • Increased flexibility - Unlike traditional advertising and print media, digital marketing can be adjusted in real-time. This means you can easily tweak or ditch campaigns that aren’t working and re-allocate any budget to those that are performing well.

If you’d like to find out more about the options for marketing your business online, and how Digital Reflow can support your business through the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond, please get in touch today.