Jenny Marshall and Chris Marshall are co-partners, and self-described Chief Cheerleaders, of advertising agency Eclipse Creative. They’re known for their innovative, smart and impactful campaigns that get their clients noticed. Eclipse Creative’s portfolio includes projects and campaigns for Tourism Vancouver Island, Victoria Airport, Coachwerks and Accent Inns, among others.
We asked Jenny and Chris to give us their perspective and advice on marketing during COVID-19.
What’s the general ‘lay of the land’ for your clients at the moment?
Certainly, our tourism clients have been the most affected, and will continue to be affected until at least the 2021 season. As Vancouver Island is so heavily reliant on tourism as a main economic driver, this impact is great and has a trickle-down effect on all businesses. More than anything I believe that during the initial few weeks of COVID-19 we saw the general uncertainty of the situation as a main concern for our clients. We saw clients pull back or postpone their campaigns. Now that we’re several weeks in, we are seeing that uncertainty lift somewhat. Businesses are realizing that this is our “new normal” and we need to find our way through it. A measured and strategic approach to staying top-of-mind is going to be critical for all businesses as we move forward.
As we cope with this extraordinary challenge, how can businesses adapt?
All things digital is the answer for the foreseeable future. Adapting has come in the forms of a real spike from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on people working from home. We believe that as long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just be an emergency measure. It can and will provide long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal.
What steps can brands take right now to maintain and increase share of voice?
I know it’s difficult but stay the course. Adapt and focus on online strategies to help drive sales. Reach out to your loyal customers in your databases and let them know you’re still ‘open for business’. Look to create incentives for purchasing during this time. Islanders are known for their support of local businesses, so make it easy for them to engage. We’ve seen many companies offering curb-side pick up or free delivery. Most importantly, if a company cuts back their ad spending, their brand will begin to lose its “share of mind” with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales.
What should businesses be particularly focused on when it comes to marketing over the next three months?
In the 2008 recession, ad spending dropped in the US about 13%. This means the cost of advertising goes down. There have been a number of studies that point out the advantages of maintaining or even increasing ad budgets during a weaker economy. It is easier said than done in these difficult economic times but historically we know that advertisers that maintained or grew their ad spending during recessions, increased sales and market share during and after the recession. Look for strategies to maximize your ad budgets and find more cost-effective ways to reach your customers. Generally, this will mean layering in more digital advertising to increase your reach to a captive audience who are working from home and living online.
Eclipse Creative is offering a complimentary consultation to businesses struggling to navigate the COVID economic landscape. More information on their website.