We’re all reeling from the news. The pandemic has created havoc with the world, in terms of both physical and economic health. There’s one thing on which all experts agree: all businesses – big and small – must continue to have an operational mindset.

Yes. Absolutely. It’s not “business as usual.” There’s likely no going back to “normal” as we remember it. We’ll have a new normal, but some of the most important marketing strategies will remain. One of the most important recommendations is that you continue with as much marketing as possible. It sets the foundation for lead generation, and you need customers to sell to. The entire world did not stop, so you still do have customers who are ready to purchase your product or service. They need to know about you.

 

Taking notes from history

During the last big economic downturn, the Great Recession of 2008, nearly 60 percent of marketers cut their budgets. We all know the dangers of completely stopping the marketing engine, which means it’s more important than ever to make sure every single marketing dollar is optimized for efficiency.

This was the time when social media platforms were coming into their own – especially Facebook. Their biggest value proposition to marketers was the ability to accurately measure performance. Meanwhile, newspaper revenue took a hit of 19 percent. Publications such as the Seattle Times saw up to 40 percent fewer ad placements.

With lower, limited budgets, marketers scrambled to find ways to reach only those prospects in their market who were ready to make an immediate purchase. Advertising platforms such as Google, and social media networks were happy to offer this avenue.

There was only one problem. Marketers only rented the information. It was largely anonymized.

 

Worse before it gets better

The economy will rebound. Some experts believe it will be quick and V-shaped. Even so, economic powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs believe we will see a 34 percent decline in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the second quarter. It would set a new record for declines – more than three times worse than the previous record (set during the flu pandemic of 1958).

One of the biggest contributing factors is the temporary unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic. For mid-April, the U.S. Labor Department reports that 14 percent of American workers (about 22 million) are unemployed. Our national unemployment rate has tripled from 4 percent at the start of the year. You would have to go all the way back to 1940 to find the last time it was this high.

 

What you can do right now

You still have the ability to find customers in your market who are ready to buy from you right now. And you also have an advantage during these uncertain times. A recent survey shows that 10 percent of marketers have completely stopped lead generation efforts, while another 60 percent has reduced efforts.

You can push a signal through the noise. Up to 70 percent of your competition has gotten quiet. But you do have to use your own diminished marketing budget as efficiently as possible. That means having a much higher certainty about lead generation effectiveness.

 

Right message, right audience

Smart marketers understand the current general mood of consumers. Call it our Covid-19 Zeitgeist. Your prospects don’t want any more of those “we’re here for you” platitudes. They want to understand how you are relevant and provide value. That means you can’t be general with your message.

Traditional lead generation efforts are no longer effective – and it didn’t even take a pandemic to bring them down. You can’t afford to chase after anonymous prospects hidden behind social media network walled gardens, advertising platforms like Google.

One of the most efficient ways to use your diminished marketing budget for lead generation is by harnessing the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence. This used to be available only to the “Billion Dollar Marketing Budget Club,” but today it’s available to just about any organization seeking it out. We can help you harness the power of AI to talk to the 3 percent of those people in your market who want to buy your product or service right now. Learn more.