Lately I witnessed many businesses completely shut down their marketing efforts due to COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty it brought to the world’s economy. Please note that I will not write about the coronavirus or any effects it has on public health or macroeconomic factors in that matter. This blog post is purely my opinion on digital marketing during recession and on the burning question many people probably have at the moment, and will have in the upcoming months (or during any other future economic crisis that will inevitably come at some point): “Why should I invest anything in marketing activities if I am already in financial trouble?”
Number one: if you are about to go bankrupt, cutting on the marketing budget will just accelerate it.
This point isn’t only valid for digital marketing, but for marketing discipline as whole. Your customers are the fuel of your business, and without them you can barely survive short-term, but definitively cannot keep the business running in the long-term. And what brings customers to you? Yeah, the obvious answer is marketing activities.
Like it or not, everything is connected. One action triggers as much reactions as you can count. Cutting down on the marketing and advertising costs, or better said decreasing your investment in them, will help you short-term — but the long-term loss will be huge. So, if you’re not standing well financially, you really need to get as many customers as you can! Therefore, do not cut down the marketing expenses, because no one will know that you even exist or, even worse, no matter how big you are, people will still turn slowly to your (smarter) competition who’ll attract them with offers they cannot refuse.
Number two: think about long-term effects vs. short-term profit
I’ve already said how devastating long-term effects can be in the case when you suddenly decide to stop “doing marketing”. Perhaps, the best example lies in the sphere of social media marketing. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and others rely on their algorithms to show users content. They don’t care how much time, money and effort you’ve invested in producing content because the formula is simple: if people engage with it, social media algorithm pushes it to more people so they can easily achieve the goal of keeping users longer on the platform. If you want to learn more in-depth about social media algorithms, I recommend this article.
You’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning this now, but let’s say you’ve decided to stop posting content on social media because you want to cut down on the marketing costs. What happens next? Well, your customers won’t leave social media — that’s for sure, they’ll still scroll and tap through endless feeds until they find something interesting, and that just might be your competitor’s video post or story poll.
The point is that by temporarily shutting down marketing activities, especially dynamic and ever-evolving ones such as digital marketing, you effectively cancel all hard work and investments previously done. Once again, in the short term you will feel like you’ve saved money, but at what cost? In the digital landscape customers won’t wait for you, they will continue with they digital lives, and once you decide to continue “doing marketing” you’ll need to start again from zero.
The same can be said for PPC advertising campaigns where you spend weeks, sometimes months on fine-tuning to achieve the best possible return on ad spend. Stop it for a month or two and it’s all gone — time to start from zero, test audiences and collect precious conversion data again.
Please, don’t shoot your future-self in the leg just to save a bit of money today!
Number three: you won’t need to actually spend a lot of money on digital marketing during recession
Economy shrinks, wages and prices too, it’s called “recession” for a reason — but make use of it! It will be cheaper to hire people and if you know how to shift business goals on products and services that are still in demand, you’ll hit the gold mine. Also, you absolutely need to remember this: digital advertising during recession actually becomes much cheaper. How? Well, it’s all due to the fact that all online advertising platforms function like real-time bidding auctions. The less people advertise their products or services online, it becomes easier to get ad impressions and therefore you pay much less money for the same pre/post-recession results.
I’ve been carefully monitoring average CPM values (cost per one thousand impressions) on Facebook and Google Ads these past few weeks, and oh boy, the CPM value plummeted to one-third of what it used to be across all markets. I’ve already said it to my clients, and I am saying this to you. Brands are flocking away from online advertising (perhaps they should read this article too), therefore making space for you — use it wisely and you’ll find a massive shortcut to digital success!
This was my first blog post ever, I hope you liked it. I’ll try to post often from now on, and if you have any suggestions or want to get in touch, always feel free to contact me!