It may seem counter intuitive to invest in marketing activities during a national crisis and recession. Most manufacturers are facing reduced revenue streams, disrupted supply chains and significant risks in workforce health and safety.
Reallocating marketing funds towards other things is a tempting bandage for a bleeding P&L. And certainly, the priority should be to do what it takes to keep the lights on and people employed. But there is very compelling evidence that shows marketing during crisis is both smart and essential.
Reason #1 – Building Brand Trust During a Crisis Will Boost ROI
Sales and marketing teams are navigating stormy waters, trying to maintain communication with existing customers while striking the right tone in lead generation campaigns in the midst of a very tough environment. Customers need to know where you stand on issues, how you are maintaining a safe operation and fulfilling orders on time.
Communication during crisis should not be left up to chance. I have received my fair share of bad emails during the pandemic that completely missed the empathy mark.
On the flip side, there are some great examples of companies that got it right. They stayed true to their brand’s values and tone of voice. Most importantly, they understood their customers’ changing needs and adjusted offerings (or made no offering at all).
One example is Travel Zoo®, which discovered in its own research that people wanted to plan future travel post-pandemic but were concerned about cancellation fees if travel restrictions were imposed. Travel Zoo adjusted its Weekly Top 20® travel bargains email to focus on flexible and worry-free (refundable) offers. Understanding changing needs and adjusting the offering allowed Travel Zoo to increase year-over-year sales in May by 165%.
When people associate positively with your brand, it will boost all other marketing activities and drive ROI.
Communications during and after a crisis is crucial in building trust. Recent research indicates that customers’ tolerance for Covid-19 related communication has waned but there is still the need to assure your audience that you have recovered and are prepared for the future.
"There is so much evidence, from studies conducted after every single recession since the 1920s, that substantiates the overwhelming ROI for companies that increased their marketing during economic downturns. Businesses that achieve the right balance between cost cutting to survive while investing in marketing and R&D in a recession come out substantial winners in the recovery phase.” Lena Heidel – C3C Thought Leader
This is part one of my three part series. Stay tuned for parts two and three.
Thanks Lena Heidel for your thought leadership.