“The truth is adversity makes you stronger if you learn from it, stay positive and resilient, and use it as fuel for your growth.”

We find inspiration in this quote during the coronavirus global crisis. So we thought we’d look at what can be learned about making critical marketing decisions during uncertain times. Marketing is crucial to the success of a small business. What impact will the coronavirus crisis have on your marketing?

DON’T STOP MARKETING

Cutting your marketing budget is kind of like being the first to blink in a staring contest. Making short term decisions to cut budgets can have a serious long-term impact. It reduces the visibility of your brand and leads to a downward spiral of topline revenue when your company needs it the most.

Keep your marketing message in front of your target customers. Use innovative ways to stay in touch with your most valuable customers by using economical promotional tools such as e-mail marketing and social media campaigns.

Email marketing is a proven, economical marketing tool for small businesses. It provides an all-important touchpoint with customers and prospects during good and challenging times. Platforms like Constant Contact charge a low monthly subscription based on the size of their customers’ contact list. What I like most is their outstanding customer support.

Social media is a two-way communication tool. And during a crisis like the coronavirus, who couldn’t benefit from real connections?

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS

Many companies I’ve worked within the past had difficulty focusing. Just about everything seemed like a good idea. Of course, it’s impossible to implement everything. But during good times, they lacked a sense of urgency.

It’s a fact in running a business that limited resources dictate having a clear focus. That’s especially crucial during uncertain circumstances when resources are stretched thin. Tough times tend to force companies to focus on the projects or initiatives with the best upside. Indecision dries up when survival appears to be on the line. Prioritize your top initiatives and implement them.

BE AGILE

How agile is your internal marketing review process? How many rounds of edits does it take before releasing important messages? Organizations with too many layers delay vital messages that need to be delivered rapidly as external circumstances evolve quickly. Prevent suffering from decision paralysis. It may be necessary to simplify your processes or simplify your external message. 

LEVERAGE SOCIAL DISTANCING

Working remotely has its advantages. And with so many online collaboration platforms, companies have solid options for keeping a far-flung work force together. Organizations that have already adapted virtual office practices thrive during uncertain times. When others are scrambling to set up their teams for working remotely, the companies already set up are light years ahead. When the crisis is over, maybe it’s time to think about how and where your teams conduct their work.

There are challenges associated with working remotely. That makes it vital for company leadership to encourage employees to stay in touch via electronic methods. Overcommunication is generally better than under communicating.

Adjust expectations. For example, it can be difficult to brainstorm over the phone. If brainstorming is challenging for you to do while socially distanced, then consider holding off on it. Or experiment with video conferencing.

STAY POSITIVE

Amid the gloomy atmosphere surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, it’s easy to feel anxious. However, there is a multitude of positive stories out there that underscore how important it is for us to look at this situation as a shared experience.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve observed:

  • Sign Effectz, Inc. – this Milwaukee-based custom sign manufacturer made toilet paper available to the employees that needed it.
  • Dollar General – the first hour that they’re open each day is reserved for elderly customers, a demographic group, especially at risk.
  • Stone Creek Coffee – after it announced the temporary closure of its cafes, the coffee roaster assembled a team of employees to pack up and donate unused food and beverage products and deliver it to the MKE Rescue Mission and the Lakeview Food Pantry. This is a great community service as well as a creative way to keep their employees engaged and on the job for as long as possible.
  • Harris Battery Company, Inc. – gave a shout out on Linked In to medical workers for all of their hard work and courage in fighting the virus outbreak.
  • Rally for Racine County – this is a Facebook Group I belong to. Members have done a wonderful job posting useful strategies and resources to help local businesses cope with the outbreak.