Should you continue to advertise during a pandemic?
I’m not going to pretend to have FACED something like this before. None of us living today has. I continue to hear, “It’s okay to feel this way or that way. There is no right way to feel.” So please keep in mind, these are purely my personal thoughts during our world’s current situation, coupled with my 12 years of experience in advertising.
Here is the question on everyone’s mind: Should you continue to advertise during a pandemic?
Yes, I believe you should seriously consider it, and here’s why:
Your messaging can change.
If you were running an offer message, and now your business has been forced to close, you can switch to a branding message or even better, create a public service announcement to show that your brand supports your community. View the PSA Insight recently created as an example.
Your competition is still advertising.
One way to stay top of mind is to remain a constant presence in the advertising arena, even during times of crisis. Other competing businesses are still out there advertising and staying top of mind with viewers. There’s no reason to be kicked while you are already down.
This won’t last forever.
People have been asked to not leave their homes except for essential trips. Once the economy is up and running again, those same people are going to be eager to make up for lost time, and that includes spending money. Even those who have lost their jobs or are on a tightened budget are still going to need products/services and are looking for the best, most reliable places to provide those things at a great value.
People are consuming certain media now more than ever.
There are captive audiences in front of news programming right now—both on the local or national level. What are people doing after they go for a walk, play a board game, do a puzzle, or cook a meal? A lot of the extra time is going into television viewing which includes local broadcast programming, cable TV and streaming services. Your customers are also bouncing around online and throughout their social media channels all day, and ads are greeting them.
Ad schedules are relatively affordable right now.
Who would have thought that in the midst of a political year, ad space would suddenly skyrocket, and rates would dip?! The pandemic is a terrible thing and has driven some local advertisers off the air in a panic. This opens ad inventory for your brand. Many media outlets are offering discounted rates, specials, or free inventory as an additional way of saying “thank you” to those businesses who are struggling and yet continue to advertise during this challenging time.
While I understand each business is different, and the idea of allocating dollars into an ad schedule right now might not be the right thing for everyone, I do notice a certain amount of panic spilling into our otherwise logical minds. Uncertainty makes us want to back off and not do anything until things are “normal.” But when that uncertainty hits, I encourage marketing folks to take a step back and think “big picture.” You can turn this time to your advantage and come out ahead when all is said and done. You have likely built a strong business which means you will weather storms like these and come out bigger, better and stronger.