26 Mar Is now the time to increase your healthcare marketing budget?
Research shows how to lead during the current crisis
In times this uncertain, the natural inclination is to retract and conserve. Businesses are closing. Employees are being furloughed. Budgets are tightening.
One way business owners may consider saving money is to cut marketing. But that can be a critical mistake.
A 2012 industry review of 25 of the top independent biomedical device companies by the accounting and advisory firm Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP examined how the industry managed to grow during the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. The review concluded that the companies that sustained growth during the 2007–2009 economic downturn shared three traits: They marketed well-differentiated products. They invested in developing new products and services. And they maintained or increased their marketing efforts. The companies that succeeded when so many others failed were those that continued to market, continued to advertise, continued to keep a high public profile for their brand.
Similarly, a study by McGraw-Hill Research examining the impact of the 1981-1982 US recession found that within three years of the end of the recession, sales of business-to-business companies that had advertised aggressively during the recession increased 256% over competitors who had cut back or ceased advertising.1
As highlighted in a study published in Harvard Business Review, savvy marketers know that an economic crisis often can present a unique opportunity to advertise – often with little or no competition. The usual clutter is clear, the noise level is low, and it may be a propitious time to launch a brand, relaunch it, or just stay the course.
Plus, you may be able to benefit from a buyer’s market. Because so many marketers have cut back or halted their advertising campaigns, advertising media rates are generally lower. Yet, more eyes than ever may be on the media as people try to stay informed (and entertained). As a result, your brand may get significantly more bang with fewer bucks.
5 steps to shine a light on your brand
1. Keep marketing. Silence may reduce your market share. Disappearing may knock you from your coveted top-of-mind spot among your customers. Even if they know you’re still around, they may lose confidence in your stability if you no longer have a presence in the market media.
2. Cater to your current customers. Let them know you’re here for them. Offer them deals on your products and services, if feasible. And keep in touch with them – share updates and helpful content.
3. Target your messaging now more than ever. Of course, this is something you always want to do in any communications at any time. But now more than ever, showing that you understand your customers’ needs, feel their pain, and are here for them with helpful solutions can resonate and demonstrate that you’re more than a vendor.
4. Emphasize KPIs and ROI. This, too, is something you should always be doing. But especially when companies are spending very cautiously if at all. Lean into your metrics!
5. Make the most of digital. The majority of people are at home, either working or trying to find other things to do with their time. Many are online. Your brand should be too. Now is an ideal time for programmatic advertising, search engine marketing, and other approaches designed to raise your profile on websites, search engines, and social media.
Although this is a challenging time, we continue to be cautiously optimistic. The organizations best positioned to lead during the crisis and after the recovery are those that continue marketing, maintain or increase their share of voice, and communicate closely with their customers and prospects.
Now is not the time to go dark. Now is the time to shine a light.
- McGraw-Hill Research. Laboratory of Advertising Performance Report 5262, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986.