Should I cut my marketing budget during the COVID-19 pandemy?

covid marketing budget

The pandemy and quarantine measures taken by the majority of governments have already affected nearly everyone involved in the production/services-consumption chain, or, maybe, just everyone? Despite the fact that some countries are already loosening the screws, it is still almost impossible to do long-term economiс forecasts, but the unanimous verdict so far is as follows: the global financial decline (aka The Great Recession) is far from being over and has not reached its peak.


Let’s assume you have a digital business – or at least produce goods or services that are tradeable online (almost everything, as we already know). You might have witnessed the boost in your sales or struggled to keep up with the pre-COVID volumes, but it is very likely that every business week starts with a question of whether or not you should alter your marketing strategy, or, more precisely, a series of questions. 


  1. Why not stop advertising completely and send the marketing budget to your own rainy day fund? Well, we sincerely hope you have that kind of fund regardless of crises and marketing budgets! And even if you don’t, the simplest answer is: do not stop advertising.  This short Advertising Specialty institute bulletin shows that during all recent recessions brands who didn’t stop advertising benefitted from that.

The explanations is quite straightforward: 

  1. it is easier to be noticed when everyone advertises less, and you’re more likely to be remembered “when it’s all over”

  2. a brand that is active and “vital” during the crisis is seen as more reliable and trustworthy by the consumers. In times of uncertainty we reach out to something strong and supportive even when we choose a video

  3. some people are more sensitive to ads in general these days: we tend to reduce the number of non-vital choices we make everyday to save the “brain room” for the important one. Will you read the new game reviews or the mid-price headphones every evening for a week before the purchase like you did before? We’re not sure you will. 

  1. What if I have a boost in organics? If you are among those lucky businesses that are supposed to thrive during the pandemy, do not forget that your rivals get loads of organic traffic too. On one hand, it’s the time when the product speaks for itself: visitors go to a number of e-shops to buy things they used to purchase offline, but stick to those that have better service/prices or whatever matters in the field. To sell better, just be better. On the other hand, it might be the right time and a chance to redefine the market share, and, as usual, the more active ones tend to win. Pick up your rival’s lost banner and hurry to help a frustrated customer! If you are able to help, of course (we’ll speak of this later)

  2. What if my sales volumes are not stable? Things might seem simpler when you have an in-house media buying team who can do a 180’ turn in your buying strategy at a word, but what if you have a contract with an agency with an IO and monthly budget to compile with? Needless to say, you can end the cooperation single-handedly, but, believe us, they are as eager to reach your goals as ever. Even major agencies (even those that are bigger than most of the clients) strive to be better than others and provide you with better terms for the same money. The ability to build a dialogue and be human will always be our unalienable right. Just in case, “we want to cut down the budgets”  is probably not a good beginning of a dialogue!:)
    We suggest that you talk about making your goals more performance-like (unless they already are) or discuss how you can boost your revenue in general. Maybe, you need to localize your app and enter a new market?

BTW, if you still need something to dot all the “i”s of in-house vs. agency, take a look at our ultimate explainer article.


  1. Should I change my tone of voice or communication strategy? Even if you believe your communication strategy is perfect, it can no longer be so: the world that this strategy used to fit in no longer exists. Put it another way, adapting your tone of voice is the opportunity to stand out and become the brand. Even if you thrive on the current situation, do not overindulge in joy. Show yourself strong and supportive. Or, if it’s you who needs help from your customers, put on a good face: you still have something good to share – and a product of value, we hope:) Make sure all of your messages are of value. Do not fiddle while Rome is burning, do not cry your eyes out begging to increase the purchase rate.  

Think of bonuses you can offer to your customers. If you have always been against free trials, maybe it is high time you changed your mind:)


If you read this and still are not sure what to do to ensure your financial stability, DM us, and we suggest a couple of new performance-based marketing strategies that will fit your digital business.at our ultimate explainer article.


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