The Importance of Marketing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It might be hard to imagine it right this second, but business will return to normal.  It will happen; there’s no doubt about it.  History has shown us that after each recession, business bounces back, and when it does, wouldn’t it be great to have yourself and your business set up to bounce back quicker than your competitors?  Create your business’s future success, now.

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, some companies have decided to cut their marketing budgets.  This seems like a prudent financial decision to protect cash flow. but in actuality, it sets up a company for a revenue shortfall.  When our entire world is changing, remember one extremely important quote, “When times are good you should advertise, when times are bad you MUST advertise.”


So, Why Market Now?

During the upcoming months business owners will need to make a decision: Will you quit advertising and be multiplying zero efforts or will you continue to advertise and reap the benefits of multiplying increased efforts?  While your competitors cut back their marketing spending and you continue advertising, you increase your voice among your competition and within your community by reaching more of your current clients and potential clients.

This is the time to increase your market share!  This time also allows your company the unique opportunity to re-position your business or introduce a new product or service.


When you invest in advertising during difficult times, it’s important to carefully analyze your marketing and the effectiveness of each campaign.  Businesses will need to adapt to their industry’s changes and their client’s demands, but whatever you do, don’t stop marketing.  Take time to research other marketing campaigns that might be a better fit for your new goals and direction.  There are many marketing strategies that can be tailored to fit your budget and your target. It’s time to continue and increase your marketing.  Now is the time to restrategize your marketing.


Increase your short- and long-term sales and profits by continuing to advertise.  In a study done by McGraw-Hill Research, 600 companies were analyzed in many different industries from 1980 through 1985.  The results showed that businesses who continued or increased their advertising during the 1981-1982 recession had significantly higher sales growth, both during the recession and in the following years than those who eliminated or decreased advertising.  By 1985, sales of companies who were aggressive recession advertisers had risen over 250% above those who didn’t keep up their advertising.


Analyze Your Strategy

If you’re running TV, start looking at specific programs on all channels that target your demographic.  In the last few weeks TV usage has increased by approximately 40% for Adults 25-54 and 80% for Adults 18-34.  If you’re running TV, start looking at specific programs on all channels that target your demographic.  TV is one of the most effective ways to stay in front of your audience.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, people are watching a lot of TV!  Wouldn’t it be great to be reminded every day that your business or product is available?  If you’re on the radio, research first to make sure you’re on the most effective station and in the right time slots for your target demographic.  Radio listenership has increased by approximately 30% over the past month.  If you’re running your ads through streaming devices (OTT or Connected TV), make sure your marketing company is tracking attribution, hyper-targeting your campaign, and optimizing your ads.  If you’re focused on social media, now is the time to ramp up your posts and engagement.  Facebook reported up to 70% increases in traffic across all their apps since the pandemic broke worldwide.  Your customers are devouring ads.  The question is; will they see your company’s message, or will they see your competition?  This is also an excellent time to concentrate on your email campaign to stay in touch with your customers while staying relevant and setting yourself apart.

From a messaging perspective for all of your campaigns; be consistent, be open, be informational, and be reassuring.  Above all, be genuine.  You can decrease your marketing budget, or eliminate some campaigns, just don’t stop marketing.  Review your analytics, find which campaigns converted higher than others, and trim the excess.  The cost of advertising drops during times like this, and a little-known secret is that everything is up for negotiation.  These lower rates create a “buyer’s market” for businesses!

Consider offering short-term pricing incentives to help attract business, and then once the market bounces back, regular pricing can return.  Now is a perfect time to underpromise and overdeliver.  Brainstorm with other businesses, talk with marketers, and most importantly, make sure you target effectively and implement your campaigns efficiently so that your valuable marketing dollars stretch further.


History Repeats Itself

Still skeptical about marketing during the COVID-19 Pandemic?  Here are some examples of past marketing campaigns during recessions, along with their positive results:

Cereal: In the 1920’s, Post was the category leader in the ready-to-eat cereal category.  During the Great Depression, Post significantly decreased their advertising budget, while their competitor Kellogg’s doubled their advertising budget.  Kellogg’s invested heavily in radio and introduced a new cereal called Rice Krispies, featuring “Snap,” “Crackle” and “Pop.”  Kellogg’s profits increased by 30% and the company became the category leader, a position it has maintained for decades.


Imported Automobiles: The recession in 1973-1975 was triggered by the energy crisis.  In late 1973, the U.S. government issued its first miles-per-gallon report in which Toyota Corolla was second to Honda Civic in fuel efficiency.  Since Toyota was experiencing strong sales, when the economic downturn hit, the temptation was to drop their ad budget, which they resisted.  By adhering to its long-term strategy, Toyota surpassed Volkswagen as the top imported carmaker in the U.S. by 1976.


Quick Service Restaurants: During the 1990-1991 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of McDonald’s decision to decrease their advertising budget, and as a result, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%, Taco Bell sales grew by 40%, and McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.


One of the best quotes regarding advertising in a recession came from Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.  When he was asked, “What do you think about a recession?” he simply responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”

Allow the team at NLA Media to help you and your business to thrive amid adversity.  We are a full-service marketing agency, and our team of experts is able to help you decipher the best strategies for your company, product, or brand.  We pride ourselves on honesty, transparency, and delivering results.  Your success is our success! Call us at 719-635-9988 or visit us online at



*Information compiled from a variety of sources, including; Forbes, Target Marketing, Adweek, McGraw-Hill, American Business Media, Facebook, and Nielson.