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Many brands may be asking themselves if marketing should remain a priority.

Advertising During Challenging Times

Nikki Wallen

In light of the current global economic environment, many brands may be asking themselves if marketing should remain a priority.

Should advertising efforts continue when no-one is certain when business will return back to normal? In a word, absolutely. Keeping your brand top of mind must remain a high priority in order to stay competitive and set the tone for success coming out of this temporary economic downturn.

Mark Ritson, PHD in Marketing and former consultant to brands like, J&J, Sephora and Subaru, shares with Marketing Week,

“The coronavirus crisis will test us all, but marketers need to think long-term and keep building their brands, protecting their staff and honouring their values.”

This truth reminds us that even as consumer purchase behaviours shift, brand loyalty stands as a guiding principle. Advertisers who stay dormant over the next several weeks, could be overtaken by faster-moving competitors who continue to push out content and unifying brand messaging.

Although the current climate is undoubtedly challenging for many companies, both large and small, online activity continues unaffected. In fact, internet usage has been surging as many users find themselves home-bound for the foreseeable future. Forward-thinking brands might take this opportunity to capitalize on the increase in online traffic volumes. This is a perfect time to start building cross-channel remarketing audiences. Prospecting and brand advocacy campaigns will serve to create actionable audience segments, for targeted use once the market bounces back.  

Market research leader, WARC, shared an article this week addressing the fear that many marketers have, “What happens if we stop advertising?” The article goes on to say, “Marketers should think twice before cutting media budgets during a recession. There is a range of evidence from past downturns that shows those companies that maintained their investment generated higher growth than those who reduced budgets and went dark.”

It is well-documented that an “always-on” approach towards brand awareness contributes to secondary indications of lift, outside of traditional campaign reporting metrics. Some examples might include keyword search volumes, impression share, organic SEO rankings, brand/message recall, and much more.

However, there are other benefits to advertising during a market recession that brands may not realize. Minimum bids across a variety of programmatic ad exchanges and networks will likely be lower than historical benchmarks. With less competitors in market, proactive brands may see more cost-effective delivery and higher quality placements over the coming weeks.

Recall the “Great Recession” of 2009. How was Amazon able to grow their sales by 28% as virtually every other company reported losses? “The tech company continued to innovate with new products during the slumping economy, most notably with new Kindle products which helped to grow market share” (Forbes, 2019). Getting in front of consumers and projecting an image of stability, can be just what brands need in order to stand out when times are tough.

Key Takeaway:

Thinking long-term and taking advantage of the right opportunities to share our voice and values will set the tone for a speedy recovery and sustainable growth.

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