2020 was the year of downsizing for the businesses that survived at all. The first level of downsizing is a reduction in staff. When it comes to downsizing, employees are the first to go. Inventory also gets cut. There is no reason to keep so much stock on hand when things are slow. Hours of operation and the number of days open will also take a hit.
Regrettably, these casualties of downsizing are unavoidable. The most expensive aspect of a business is payroll. If cash flow takes a major hit, it will be felt in payroll first. Businesses can usually survive these temporary measures. With luck, they can get back up and running at full capacity before too long. The real devastation to the business occurs when vital services are cut. When it comes to vital services, marketing is usually the first to go. The reason is that it is not readily apparent what marketing actually does for the business. It takes a while before marketing starts to work. And it takes a while before the effects of cutting it are felt. That said, the last thing you want to cut is marketing when things go pear-shaped. Here’s why:
Attention Has Shifted
With advertising, if you know where people will be looking, you know where you need to place the sign. The easiest way to predict where the attention will be is to create the thing that draws the attention in the first place. For decades, criminal lawyers have put their advertising muscle behind television and print directories. During the pandemic, that might not cut it.
Consumer attention has shifted. Attorneys have to look to firms that specialize in criminal lawyer marketing. Those marketing pros will recognize the fact that people are no longer paying as much attention to traditional television and paper directories. The professionals not only know that the attention has shifted, but where.
During the pandemic, people have shifted their attention to social media. How strong is your social media advertising game? People were watching twitter more than they were watching The Price Is Right. You need someone handling your marketing who knows where the attention is today, and where it is going to be tomorrow.
Getting Noticed in a Crowded Room
Before the pandemic, the world was a bigger place where all the players could carve out their own little niche. There were plenty of niches to go around. It was a lot easier to be a big fish in your own small pond. Now, more than ever, you have to find a way to cut through the noise and be competitive. Everyone is fighting to be seen and heard in the same crowded room. That takes a set of specialized skills held by professional marketers.
When you cut the budget to marketing, you cut off your ability to cut through the noise. You have to find new and interesting ways to stand out. You are placing an emphasis on cleaning, masks, and social distancing? Good for you. So is every other business operating in the same competitive space as you. What do you do that the others don’t? And how are you going to get people to notice it? This is the purpose of marketing. In a crisis, you need it more than ever.
No One Will See Your Billboard
That billboard advertising your brand for all to see has been like a gold mine. The great thing about good branding is that you will remain at top of your mind long after your display advertising is over. The bad news is that if you stop your marketing efforts, it will take some time before you get to the top of your mind again.
You can’t afford to put your marketing efforts on pause. You have to shift your marketing efforts to where the attention is, find ways to get noticed when things get crowded, and don’t pause your marketing just because things are going well. Sometimes, your marketing efforts are the only thing that gets you through a crisis.