Madeleine McMullin on marketing

May 2020

“The flood of emails that I’ve seen in my inbox over the last few weeks from companies reassuring me that they are there for me during the current crisis, whether I need them to be or not, put me in mind of the Private Eye column ‘Desperate Marketing’ which highlights businesses that jump on the latest band wagon to sell their wares whether it is relevant or not.

That said, at least those companies are still spending money on marketing, unlike a lot of companies which have cut right back and hunkered down to try to ride out the lockdown and the seemingly inevitable recession that it will bring in its wake.  One of the television channels in France is currently showing a thank you to those companies that are still advertising in its commercial breaks.  And a lot of the trade magazines in our own and related sectors have had to furlough staff and make cuts to their own operations in order to survive the abrupt disappearance of many regular advertising clients.

Whilst it is entirely understandable that businesses need to cut costs at a time when they are selling much less or even nothing, many companies are still working.  Architects and other specifiers are busy planning future projects and, free from the need to go out on site visits, have more time to research and are more likely to pay attention to those companies that are still reaching out to them.

Doubtless you could say that, as a marketing consultant, I would say that it pays to carry on marketing, but it’s not just me: research studies have shown, time and again, that those companies that market during a recession come out of it much more quickly and are much stronger than those that stop.  Kellogg doubled its ad budgets during the 1920s, overtaking the market leader, and growing sales by 30% during the toughest recession of the 20th century and there have been many other examples since.  

What’s more, the fact that close to 100% of business activity is currently happening digitally, means that you don’t have to spend fortunes – judicious use of social media, email marketing and pay per click advertising, could be a low cost way to keep yourself in front of your customers, and the magazines may be able to help with less expensive ways of reaching their readership than full page display ads.  So, my message to you is ‘Keep calm and carry on marketing.’
Stay safe.”

Madeleine McMullin is a marketing consultant specialising in the tile and stone industry.  

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