6 Reasons to Keep Marketing Your Business During The Covid-19 Crisis

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 43% of business owners believe they have less than 6 months until they have to shut down permanently and approximately 1 in 4 businesses have temporarily shut down due to this crisis we are experiencing. With all this turbulence we’re facing, as business owners and marketers we need to keep focused on riding out this storm. While we are getting our footing trying to figure out how to handle these rough seas, one expense that often gets cut out is the marketing budget. I totally understand, but without marketing, your business might not survive. I know – you have other expenses you need to pay in order to keep your head above water but, when you’re making these decisions about what to cut back on and what to spend money on, consider the following reasons why you should continue marketing:

1. Your market changes constantly. For whatever reason, some of your customers will disappear. If you sell B2C, some of your customers will move out of the area and new folks will move in. If you sell B2B, some of those businesses will close but new businesses will open. The people or businesses who are no longer available will not be a viable market for you any longer and the new residents and businesses will have no idea who to buy from. If you stop your marketing, you may not be able to replace those folks who moved away, retired or closed and you will miss out on the new opportunities.

2. Sometimes your customers and prospects have short memories. I can’t tell you how many times I received a call from someone who thinks they bought from me previously but actually didn’t. The prospect forgot who they bought from so the marketing money spent by the previous supplier to attract their now former customer has been squandered. That’s no great shock, though. As business people, we are overwhelmed by all the “work” at work. Then, when you add in all the marketing messages we are pounded by every day, it’s no wonder why folks get confused and space out on who sold them what. Keep in touch with your customers and they’ll think of you the next time they need to buy something.

3. Your competitors are still marketing. If you pare down your marketing, your customers may think you shut down for good. If they no longer to hear from you, they will move on and buy from someone else. Your competitors who have maintained their marketing will scoop up the customers you lost. Staying in touch with your customers is critical now more than ever.

4. Some of your competitors will quit marketing. I know what your thinking – didn’t I just tell you that your competitors are still marketing? Yes, some are maintaining their marketing, however, some are not. Those customers will be up for grabs. Your marketing, and their lack of marketing, is to your advantage. As your competitors reduce their presence, your marketing can cut through the rugby scrum of marketing messages and attract more attention.

5. Your marketing will continue to build your brand. When you decrease your marketing, all the time, effort and money you put into it will have less value and the branding momentum you created will eventually come to a stop. The confidence and trust you worked so hard to build with your target market and customer base will weaken. Marketing will continue building your brand so when the economy rebounds, you will not have to invest as much time and money and effort to rebuilding or maintaining your brand as those who cut their marketing budget.

6. Some of your competitors will shut their doors which leaves more of the market available to you. Did you see the movie “Forrest Gump”? During the hurricane, his boat, the “Jenny”, was out at sea and survived while the other shrimp boats were destroyed. This left Forrest and Lieutenant Dan the entire market after the storm had passed. The current storm we are experiencing will eventually end and, if you maintain your marketing efforts, your business stands a better chance of surviving and then thriving when things get back to normal because there may be fewer competitors.

Sluggish Sales? Try Marketing with Promotional Products.

State and local governments are forcing businesses to shut down due to COVID-19 virus and many businesses are feeling the pinch. Business owners and marketers are cutting budgets and trimming expenses. After being in the marketing and advertising business for 30 years, one thing I have learned is that when there’s an economic downturn, one of the first budgets to get the axe is marketing. While this may be a necessity, I’d like to offer an idea to you. Whatever marketing money you have available, put some of it to promotional products. They deliver an amazing return on marketing investment by allowing you to leverage your money and time.

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with new customers and prospects about promotional products. If I could boil down these conversations, my customer or prospect wants to know 3 things:

  1. Why should I buy promotional products?
  2. Which promotional products should I buy?
  3. How can I use them effectively?

Promotional products are one of the oldest marketing mediums dating back to the days of George Washington and they are still a viable marketing medium today. Why have they lasted this long? The answer is simple: people love receiving promotional products and they use them in their day to day lives. Promotional products are the only marketing medium that recipients will say “thank you” as they repeatedly see your marketing message. What’s even better is that once that item is distributed to your target market, the message is seen over and over again without interruption and without any additional cost or effort on your part. After you distribute that imprinted mug, calendar, lip balm, hand sanitizer, magnet or whatever, your job is done. That item will do its job showing your marketing message without fail and you won’t have to keep paying for each marketing impression. Additionally, it’s impossible to “unsubscribe” the message on a pen, it’s impossible to click “skip ad” on the message on a chip clip or “mute” the message on an imprinted shirt. Talk about efficient marketing!

There are approximately 800,000 promotional products available but choosing the right promo item for your business comes down to just 2 criteria:

  1. Your target market.
  2. Your distribution method.

Very often, customers get hung up on wanting the “latest and hottest” item. In my experience, this isn’t important. Choosing an item that your target market will like, enjoy and use is significant. This is why I advise my customers to choose items that are found on the recipient’s person, in their kitchen or in their workspace. Do you wear shirts or caps with logos on them? Do you keep a lip balm in your purse or pocket? Do you have magnets on your fridge or mugs in your cupboard? What about custom printed sticky notes and notepads – do you see them in your workspace? Promotional products are everywhere and distributing useful items that recipients will keep with them, use in their kitchen or use in their workspace will increase the chances that your message is seen repeatedly.

Next, you could have the latest and hottest promo item every created but if you don’t have a plan to distribute it, you’ve squandered your money. On the flip-side, you could distribute the most boring promotional product and it will do its job because it’s reaching your target market. There are 3 ways to distribute promotional products:

  1. You can mail them out.
  2. You can hand them out.
  3. You can leave them out.

If you go to your mailbox today and find that you received a box, would you open it? YES, of course, you would! Lumpy mail almost always gets opened. Mailing or shipping promotional products is the most expense form of distribution but you are almost 100% guaranteed that your message will be received.

Taking an active role in handing out your items is effective, as well. If you order imprinted pens, you could hand them to servers at restaurants or cashiers in retail businesses. Bring those pens wherever you go and hand them to whomever will take one. It’s really that easy.

Lastly, you can leave them out for recipients to take. The post office I frequent has a cup on the counter filled with pens. Also, many of my customers order calendars that they keep on the counters at their place of business and their customers take them as they come and go.

Promotional products are the only marketing medium that will continue to deliver your marketing message long after you pay for them and this can help you get through these tough times. Choose items that your target market likes and uses and have a plan to distribute them. The recipients will love receiving the free stuff and your message will be seen so many times that your cost per impression will become almost zero.

Brilliant Guerrilla Marketing

Well, it happened again last night. It was bound to happen again and last night is when it happened.

Some guerrilla marketers came through my neighborhood again and they were promoting their produce business. Here’s what they did:

They had soGuerrilla Marketingme flyers printed up. Then they rolled them up and they used a rubber band to attach the flyer to some simple cotton work gloves. Then they went through my neighborhood and they threw them on our driveways.

This morning when I woke up to take the dog out for her morning walk, the rolled up flyer and gloves were on my driveway. This is brilliant. Here’s why it’s brilliant.

I’m going to throw out the flyer but I’m going to hang on to the cotton gloves. I’ll probably remember where I got the gloves and I’ll be reminded of that produce business every time I use them…and long after I’ve thrown out that flyer and long after those guerrillas paid for the flyers and gloves and spent the time rolling them up and driving through my neighborhood distributing their marketing message.

Those guerrilla marketers were smart but if they were really smart, what they would have done is they would have had the gloves imprinted with their logo or their contact information or both. That way as time goes on, people will know where they got those gloves and have the marketer’s contact info.

Promotional products are the ultimate guerrilla marketing tool. Promotional products deliver their marketing message over and over and over and long after the advertiser paid for them. The promotional product doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be distributed. That is the number one factor in using promotional products effectively is the distribution.

The folks at the produce business near my house did a great job. They could have done better but they did a great job.