The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face-to-face with unprecedented times, where businesses struggle to keep the damage to the minimum. Since most countries have been under lockdown for the last few months, the impact of the restrictions on daily activities can be seen on almost all businesses and markets.
While the crisis has changed the business landscape, all is not lost. With these disruptions come opportunities for growth and overcoming challenges. With the right mindset and resources, you can navigate your way through these times in order to identify your customers’ needs, wants and expectations.
Should I continue my marketing efforts?
In times like these, the most impacted business is that of non essentials such as apparels, tech, beauty, etc. The greatest challenge is foreseeing how customer wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions will evolve.
Keeping this in mind, businesses often have the question whether or not they should continue with their marketing methods at all. This question is only obvious since they want to optimize their costs of running the business to sustain during this period. And while making the cuts in the costs, the first thing to be sacrificed is more often than not, the marketing efforts. The thought process behind this is simple – If the buying capacity of the consumer has decreased then why burn money on advertising the goods?
Well, that approach here isn’t right.
Abruptly stopping all your marketing efforts will cut off your relations and conversations with your customers. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more out of touch you will be with your brand followers. This will lead them to forget about your brand amidst all the engaging content provided by other brands.
When things finally do get back on track, you will have to start from scratch.
So How Did The Pandemic Affect Brands?
As soon as the lockdown came into effect, offline stores were shut and deliveries from online stores had also come to a halt. This ultimately led to brands stopping most, if not all, of their marketing efforts since they could not deliver the products. Although this did affect sales, this also meant that the competition had lowered. Certain brands saw this as an opportunity and decided to run some of their marketing messages, just to ensure that they did not lose touch with their customers.
One more key takeaway from this sudden shift was that traffic clicks were cheaper since there wasn’t much competition in the market. Hence, for those who were continuing their advertising campaigns, this time couldn’t have been more fruitful.
Who Was At Advantage?
The lockdown had a huge impact on all traditional methods of sales and marketing but there were also certain businesses that benefited from it.
- Brands that were delivering even during the lockdown period had an advantage by default since people had the ideology that it’s better to have products of any brand rather than not have any products at all.
- Due to the social distancing mandate, people preferred buying online rather than going to offline stores, even if they were open for business. Thus the offline rush had found its way online. This played to the advantage of those who had established an online presence.
- Another observation was that brands which had a prominent offline presence ultimately also had a prominent advantage online. This is due to the fact that customers trust a brand that they had been using, so that even while buying online, they do not have to worry about the product quality.
- Brands which continued their marketing could leverage the customers of their competitors who weren’t aggressively marketing and promoting their products.
What were the downsides?
Although there were certain advantages, there were also some downsides that were seen by businesses and brands. One of the biggest adverse effects was seen in servicing after purchase since personnel movement was restricted. Not only that but deliveries also took a hit due to the limited movement of vehicles throughout the country which resulted in products being delivered within 2 weeks’ period or so instead of the previous 3-4 days period.
How do I sustain my brand in these times?
An article covered by The Economic Times outlines the concept of revenge shopping, taking the example of a luxury brand and how it recorded the biggest single-day shopping in China. Revenge shopping is the overindulgence in retail therapy by people who missed shopping during the lockdown period.
In India this trend might be witnessed in the upper middle class who have sustained their incomes and standard of living during the lockdown. Another way to recover the lost sales during the lockdown is carrying out promotional activities and sales or discount offers, which will attract customers loyal to your brand and also potential customers since everyone is looking for economical goods these days.
To summarize, the pandemic isn’t over yet. There might be a few more blind turns ahead but brands have already started planning for contingencies. Although this new economic climate has added challenges for brands, it has also opened up new avenues for growth.
If you are looking for performance marketing partner to grow your business in these uncertain times, please drop your query at [email protected]