With COVID-19 changing the world in many ways. From our day-to-day lives to our spending habits, our priorities have shifted, perhaps irrevocably. These changes have several implications for businesses, with consumer spending falling and new requirements to keep staff and customers safe. Brands need to pivot how they operate and market their services in response to COVID-19 in order to survive.

In part two of our series on Finding Opportunity in the Economic Downturn, we explore why it is essential that businesses adjust their strategies if they are to be successful during these challenging times, and how they can adapt their marketing strategy in response.

The Impact COVID-19 has had on Businesses

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic fallout have been tough on Australian businesses. Australia is now officially experiencing its first recession in nearly 30 years.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Accounts data showed a second quarter of negative growth, with a 7% fall in GDP in the three months to the end of June.

This news was hardly unexpected, as economists have been predicting figures like these for months. It also confirmed what many Australian businesses knew already: Customers are buying less. According to the official figures, household consumption reduced by a staggering 12% in the June quarter.

So how can businesses effectively use marketing to stop their profits from shrinking in these challenging times?

Businesses need to Adapt to the New Landscape 

We previously explored how businesses that invest more during an economic downturn strengthen their market share for years to come. However, while maintaining marketing spend is important, it is equally critical to adapt marketing strategies in response to the dramatic changes to the business landscape.

People are spending a lot more time indoors and this has translated into a considerable increase in online activity, TV viewing, and online streaming. Shifting marketing spend to digital is essential.

Meanwhile, traditional out of home formats are not dead. However, with people staying home priorities need to shift. City centres are far quieter than pre-COVID months, while residential neighbourhoods and smaller, local shopping areas have boomed – suburbanization of out of home media is in play.

How to Pivot your Marketing during COVID-19

Your business’s marketing strategy should take into account the new habits of your audience, the challenges your customer base is currently facing, and the practical and logistical constraints you are working under during the pandemic.

Here are some specific ways your business can pivot your marketing strategy and tactics in the context of COVID-19:

  1. Step up your advertising spend on TV and CTV (Connected TV) to take advantage of increased TV viewership at this time.
  2. Review advertising spend across event sponsorships, if they aren’t going to be broadcast to a large audience it may be worth reassigning these funds to digital marketing.
  3. Increase your Digital PR, placing guest posts and gaining coverage on large publisher sites will help you to capture the audience of online readers during down-time.
  4. Explore audio content such as podcasts or custom playlists to capture the growing number of people looking for something to listen to while working from home, baking, and so on.
  5. Be empathetic towards your audience: Remember that many people are going through tough times at the moment, whether financially, personally, or both. Creative can support you to find ways to reach out to your customers in a more meaningful way that acknowledges the struggles they are facing.
  6. Content has never been more important. People have more down-time when they are consuming media, and more time to explore your message and brand further. You must be able to move your audience through awareness to education through your content.

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a number of challenges for Australian businesses. Now is the time to invest in media and marketing, while adapting your strategies to best suit the changing landscape. This will allow you to engage with your audience, continue to drive sales, and safeguard your profits even during a global pandemic and national recession.

Angie Smith

About Angie Smith

Angela started the company in 2007 after working in various media including radio, Yellow Pages as well as on the advertising agency side. She has a passion for media planning across channels, strategy, development and negotiation and really loves working with clients in growing their businesses and brands. She has worked with many brands large and small including local, national and multi-nationals. Angie’s pastimes include travel, food, entertaining.