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The Creative or Conservative Marketer: Who Will Fare Better During and After the Pandemic?

Some businesses are closing their wallets completely as a way to avoid shutting their doors. Others are using this “hunker down” time as an opportunity to reimagine and pivot. 

“Should I spend or should I slow?” It is a question on many minds today.

As history has shown us, as long as your business is open, stopping marketing completely is a huge tactical error.

We’re not suggesting that you take a Vegas-like approach to marketing spending on marketing and media planning. Especially now, you certainly can’t afford to bet it all on one strategy that could either win big or leave you broke.

However, taking smart and professionally-informed steps to create a new COVID-19-centric media plan is essential these days. 


  • Be conservative AND creative. Earmark a comfortable amount for marketing. Especially now, focus on WHO your target market is and how to best reach them. Create offers and messaging that are very focused but will also break through the media clutter.


    1. Don’t be tone-deaf to the pandemic but economize on creative that you can only use for a few weeks. Consider deploying some of your dollars to cause-related efforts and incorporate your campaign in your advertising. But be genuine. Consumers can easily see through fundraising efforts that are simply marketing ploys.
    2. Incorporate old school tactics. People are home now, so direct mail and targeted print and radio (conventional and online) can help you break through the clutter.


  • Analyze…analyze…analyze. With marketing dollars tighter than ever, you must monitor campaign results constantly and fine-tune as necessary to deliver the best ROI.


    1. In a creative funk? Look at the many inventions that came about during recessions past. Surround yourself with positive people and transformational thinkers and advisors. Never be afraid to ask for help from people who have unique perspectives — and listen and learn.
    2. Seek out media-agnostic advisors. Advertising options abound these days and you should work experts and partners who are unbiased and can advise you to spend on what’s best for your business — not on where they may earn the highest commission. When you know who to trust, you’ll spend your dollars more efficiently. Generalists who are familiar with all ad media need to be in your circle these days.


  • Prepare for the future. Businesses and marketers are understandably focused on the present. We don’t know when life will get back to relative normalcy and people will travel, shop, and dine-out again. Life and business will, most likely, change forever. But unless you think about key selling seasons for your industry NOW you’ll fall behind. Work with your team and media planner to create “what if” scenarios and develop different options for different outcomes. 


“In every recession, marketers find themselves in poorly charted waters because no two downturns are exactly alike.” – Harvard Business Review

The ultra-conservative marketers who immediately halt all spending may live to create that decision. One study showed that businesses that continued to advertise throughout a recession saw sales increases almost 300 percent higher than those who stopped marketing. 

No one can be certain about exactly how and when the future will unfold. But we do know from past eras that those who are smart, focused, and analytical about their business development and ad spend will survive to see future decades. We are in this together. Let us know how we can help you re-imagine your marketing strategy – now and in the future.