Out of sight, out of mind.
A famous phrase, but can it apply to companies considering stopping their marketing efforts during a recession? Is there a genuine risk of losing customers and prospects if you go off the radar for even a short while?
It’s understandable that companies are forced to cut back on spending across the board during a pandemic or any other downturn in the economy. And when they do cut back, often one of the first things to go is marketing – either reducing it or stopping it completely.
This is a mistake.
When you stop marketing, a number of things happen. Your name is lost in people’s minds; your competitors get an edge; your clients/prospects start to lose that relationship with you that you had carefully built up.
Even if you do have to cut back during difficult times, having some form of marketing is vital – so you can bounce back effectively once the economy picks up again.
So with that in mind, let’s look at three of the biggest reasons why stopping marketing isn’t the right move.
1. Steady distribution of your name
No big brands ever stop marketing altogether during tough times. There’s a reason for that. The company name needs to be constantly out there. The same goes for small businesses – because regardless of the size of your operation, it’s too easy to be forgotten, or ignored.
When your name is not present in the marketplace, you will see a decrease in almost all key awareness metrics. Just six months away from the public eye can mean a 13% decrease in brand usage, and 6% decrease in brand image.
But it’s actually the long-term consequences which are more troubling. When the recession is over, and things are getting back to normal, it will take you much longer to get back to where you were at the start.
In short, you will still be feeling the negative effects of the recession several years after it has passed.
No one is expecting you to bombard your audience with marketing when times are tough, but a steady stream of effective, targeted content marketing can keep things ticking over nicely, and position you ready for recovery when the time comes.
So don’t let your name disappear.
2. Your top competitors are likely still running campaigns
The time for a competitor to take advantage is the moment your company goes off the radar. They are then primed and ready to fill the gap you have created.
The contest for customers is not put on hold just because times are tough, so by continuing your marketing efforts during the recession you are not losing ground. Ground that will be difficult to make up later on.
But it goes beyond you and your competition. By not marketing, you also lose customer insights as you lose engagement and interaction – so the distance between you and your customers grows. You become less in touch with their needs and their views on your products or services. Because of this, you lose some of your agility and your ability to read the market – both important in the fight to keep ahead of competitors.
3. Your clients and prospects want to know that everything is okay with you
During the pandemic, did you find yourself wondering what some key organisations in your life were up to? Perhaps your gym, your local stores, the library, the auto repair shop. The list goes on.
Companies that provide updates, even if it’s just simply reminding people that they are still there, are always going to win in this situation. Half the time customers are wondering if a company has just shut its doors temporarily or for good. Or perhaps they assume operations have been paused when in fact that’s not the case. Pandemic or not, keeping that company-customer link strong and active is important.
Providing useful content is a great solution here. Even if there aren’t any updates, just checking in with your customers, letting them know that you understand their current situation and aligning yourself with their experience can help maintain that relationship.
It’s about them – about making them feel that they’re cared for, and the product or service you offer is still there for them, or will return as soon as it’s possible. Research shows that seven out of ten customers only consider brands ‘that understand and care about them’. The best way you can show this is by continuing to market, but leaning more on informational and helpful content, rather than promotional.
Continue to build and nurture those relationships of trust and loyalty during difficult times and they will pay dividends when things get better.