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Market inn answers, ‘What should I do with my marketing in the coronavirus crisis?’



In times of crisis, our natural reaction is to batten down the hatches and pull-back spending (unless, it would seem, it’s on loo paper). The global pandemic has brought about changes in many different parts of our lives. What about the marketing of your business? Should that be something you change? Here’s our advice. 


Stay visible! Don’t cut your marketing, adapt it

During economic slowdown businesses tighten their purse strings. Often, it is the marketing spend that is the first to be reined in. But, as the adage goes, ‘When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.’ Now, more than ever, is the time when you need to reach and engage your target audience, and stay visible. Out of sight means out of mind. Marketing is an investment; cutting it will have long term consequences. Multiple studies, going back a whole century, have shown that businesses who maintain their marketing spend during weaker economic times see increased sales and market share during the recession period and after it. 


The best response? Maintain your spend and adapt your marketing strategy. COVID19 has changed our current needs, wants and way of life. As a result, your pre-COVID19 marketing strategy may no longer be the best course of action. For example, now we’re all in lockdown spending money on out-of-home advertising is not smart. Take the time (we’ve got some on our hands now, right?) to re-evaluate. Ask yourself, how can I maximise my budget in my customers’ new set of circumstances? To help you, we’ve got some pointers:


1-Your website is your key shop front, make it outstanding

With the doors to many businesses closed, the closest customers can get to them is via their website. So it is critical that it is in excellent order. Review your website: Does it look professional? Is your primary message clearly stated? Does it have all the right content? Is it clear and easy for people to navigate? Does its look and feel reflect your business’ brand and personality? Are actions – such as purchases, account changes, form filling – quick and easy? It’s better to get somebody that hasn’t used your website to undertake this review to ensure fresh eyes, honesty and independence. Don’t panic – you won’t necessarily need a complete website overhaul; even small changes can make a big difference. 


3-Do social media in a way that’s tailored to your target audience 

‘Everyone’s online, let’s post stuff on social media!’ True, everyone is online; now is definitely the time to have a strong digital presence. But don’t just launch into a flurry of tweets. Pause, step back and be strategic. Social media is a huge universe of opportunities (and challenges). Make sure you understand which channels your target audience is engaging with and what kind of content resonates with them. This way you can put your time and money into the activities that are most likely to generate a return. 


4-Test, learn, test

There is no one-size-fits all answer to marketing, especially in the digital sphere. Our target audiences and businesses are different; Facebook ads might generate a quick and effective return for some businesses, for others it might not work at the same rate or even at all. Be creative, experiment with your social media activity and learn what works for you and your business. 


5-Don’t pay lip service to the crisis for the sake of being part of the conversation

If your business is going to engage in the crisis, remember, actions speak louder than words. Those businesses that send the ‘Letter from the CEO’ style ‘we care for you’ messages are simply paying lip service. Don’t go down that road. Instead, do something that shows you appreciate our new lives . For example, Doddington Hall has partnered with Soper of Lincoln to provide an eco-friendly home delivery service to help elderly and vulnerable people needing food and essentials. The Lincoln Academy of Theatre Arts has taken to delivering Facebook Live singing tutorials for everyone to join along to, bringing people together through the joy of music. These responses are much more meaningful than a corporate communications email. 


When the dust has settled, people will remember the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ from this crisis. Stay visible, and they will remember your business. Maintain your marketing and adapt it correctly, and your business will be in the ‘good’. And from that good will come a return on your investment. Cut marketing loose, and you could be in the dust. 

If you’ve got concerns about how to adapt your marketing in these new times, please feel free to get in touch at hello@marketinnhospitality.co.uk

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