COVID-19 has impacted every single person. From the lockdowns, to the furlough schemes, to the masks, to the 2 metres apart, socially distanced garden parties, to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. In this article though, let’s talk specifically about what COVID-19 has meant for us marketers.
Businesses are struggling
The first thing to understand and accept is: businesses are going to struggle for a long time. For context, in China the virus caused retail sales to drop by 20.5% and the unemployment rate jumped to 6.2 in February. It’s estimated that in total COVID-19 will cost the global economy $2.7 trillion. One thing that everyone has made use of is the internet, and increased connectivity. It has enabled many businesses to continue operation without opening their physical stores.
Here in Belfast, the number of people going back to work in their offices has been described as ‘more of a trickle than a surge’ by BBC Northern Ireland. We work with lots of amazing clients from different sectors and industries, so have valuable insights into the destruction COVID-19 has caused. Things are slowly taking shape again, but we must warn you… things won’t look the same for a long time.
Our take on what COVID-19 has meant for us marketers, and our advice for the future is as follows.
Double down, while others are not. Many people believe that the economy is in such a dire position and increasing marketing spend would be futile, but hear us out. Your digital marketing spend in particular, could be hugely beneficial for your business. An increase of people indoors, shielding from the virus has led to a steep increase in people’s time spent online.
So spend the money on digital display ads, social media, and online video. These channels will be the most fruitful at this point. Move away from out of home advertising such as billboards and adshels, people aren’t outside enough to see them!
While the physical impact of the corona virus has been astronomical, the impact on businesses can be managed. Hopefully this article has detailed clearly what COVID-19 has meant for marketers. It can be tempting to bin the marketing budget first when cuts are being made. But think long term. As competitors drop off your marketing radar, see this as an opportunity to surge above them.