Take Advantage of This Pitstop

If you’ve ever watched cars racing, you’ve likely witnessed a crash. While they’re cleaning up the debris on the track, the pace car comes out, and all the racers have to slow down. In that moment, when going fast is not an option, the smart drivers take advantage of the opportunity and make a pitstop. It’s their chance to gas up and add fresh tires so that when the race starts back up, they’re primed and ready. Then, they get back on the track, and when the pace car gets out of the way, they’re prepared to hit the gas.

Based on the work we do, and what we’re seeing with our clients, one of those areas where you can gas up and add fresh tires is in the area of your marketing. As we’re facing COVID-19, the idea of investing more in marketing may feel absurd. It may sound illogical to devote more resources or energy into marketing today. But this is the reality… When this ends, we’re going to want to hit the gas again.

There’s a popular saying, “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you MUST advertise.” Back in September of 2019, long before COVID-19 was on anyone’s radar, Forbes published an article titled “When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising.” Today, as we’re facing the challenges in front of us, the takeaways from this article are more valuable and timely than ever. We’re in that moment between the crash and when the race starts up again.

Here are three of the insights from that article that you should be paying attention to when things slow down…

  1. The “noise level” drops as competitors cut back on their marketing spend. Right now may represent a great chance to level the playing field or even leapfrog competitors as they step back from their marketing. At that moment, when everyone else goes quiet, there’s space for breaking in and gaining brand recognition and an edge.
  2. It’s your opportunity to project stability. In the middle of a downturn or a recession, exhibiting strength and steadiness will instill confidence in your brand.
  3. An increase in “share of voice” leads to a rise in “share of market.” The more customers and clients hear from you, and the quieter your competitors become, the more attention you’ll gain.

In his article, Adgate also explores some examples of brands that made great leaps by focusing on their marketing during a downturn. Here are two of those illustrations…

In the 1920s, Post was the leading cereal brand in the marketplace. When the Great Depression hit, they significantly dialed back their marketing spend to protect themselves. At the same time, Kellogg’s doubled its investment in marketing, and their profits grew by 30%, taking over the leader’s spot.

In the recession of the late nineties, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell were competing head to head with McDonald’s. At that time, McDonald’s dropped its advertising budget, and both Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of the open door. Pizza Hut sales grew by 61%, and Taco Bell sales jumped 40%. Meanwhile, McDonald’s sales slipped by 28%.

As we’re navigating some of the current realities of COVID-19, we’re seeing our clients double-down on their marketing more than ever. Some are using their social media followings to deepen their connections with customers and fans. Others are leveraging webinars and Zoom to create similar connections. A handful of clients are taking advantage of this time to revisit their websites, updating content and even taking on full brand refreshes. Finally, we’re seeing customers make increased investments in SEO and digital advertising, taking advantage of this time where competitors are pulling back.

To be clear, we’re not sharing this right now to sell you anything. We’re sharing this so that you think differently about the opportunity you have in front of you, and then do something with it!

There are plenty of ways you can do that right now on your own. You can use social media as a way to grow your connections and introduce your brand to prospects. You can send out emails that continue adding value to your clients and showcase your products and services. You can leverage your blog as a way to interact with your customers and naturally improve your website’s SEO. You can do something as simple as calling current clients to check-in and make your relationships stronger.


Invest as much time and energy into your marketing right now as you’re able. Now is not the time to let up or slide backward – it’s time to gain ground. It’s time to build deeper relationships with your customers and add value. It’s time to get in front of prospects, capture their attention, and tell your story. If you do this, the payoff will be there.

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