Should you pause your marketing efforts in times of uncertainty?
In the current climate, many ecommerce retailers are unsure of how to respond. Should you maintain your current activity? Should you scale back slightly? Should you be pausing activity entirely?
In times of ecommerce uncertainty, many retailers will want to scale back marketing activity. You may wish to focus on retaining customers, and not new customer acquisition. You may focus on processes. You may focus on people. You may want to pause all marketing efforts entirely, including paid search, social and more.
This is all understandable and whilst each ecommerce brand is different, on the most part, pausing marketing efforts entirely may cause more problems for your brand than you intend. It is important to fully understand the long-term effect that pausing activities can bring.
Why should retailers not pause marketing efforts entirely?
#1 – You can use marketing efforts for customer retention to keep your existing customers
If you do need to scale back activity, it may be useful to focus your efforts on customer retention. In slow periods, keep your remarketing activity running (or even expand your remarketing efforts) so that you can drive orders and revenue.
You also don’t want to lose your existing customers to competitors who may not have scaled back activity. It can be difficult to ‘win back’ customers and so it is important that you focus on retaining your existing customer base in times of uncertainty.
#2 – You can maintain your brand awareness and future proof your brand
Whilst it may be difficult to acquire new customers in times of uncertainty, you can retain your brand awareness efforts in order to future proof your brand. Whilst brand awareness can be hard to track and attribute, it can be crucial to your long-term success.
When your marketing activity does eventually return to full speed, you don’t want to have lost weeks or months of no brand awareness activity.
Maintaining a simple level of brand awareness activity can be useful for maintaining a presence online, and keeping front of mind with your ideal customers.
#3 – You need to maintain your market share and stay ahead of your key competitors
Whilst you may be considering pausing marketing efforts entirely, your competitors may not be. If this is the case, you will likely lose your market share to your competitors and fall behind.
It will be even more important to keep a close eye on your competitor activity and understand how they are responding to ecommerce uncertainty. Every brand will respond differently – some will increase activity if they recognise an opportunity, and some will pause activity entirely.
Either way, you don’t want to fall behind and lose customers to your competitors.
#4 – It may be more expensive in the future to return to peak activity
Most marketing efforts have high initial costs, whether this is PPC, paid social or influencer marketing. This is because you need to gather data and take time establishing your brand online, with low results in the early stages of your digital strategy.
If you pause your marketing efforts entirely, when you come to ramp up activity again, you may need to experience these high initial costs once again when returning to peak activity.
By maintaining some activity during times of uncertainty, you can ensure that you minimise these costs in the future.
#5 – You may lose your data and insights by pausing marketing efforts
You are always gathering new data and insights when running marketing efforts, and comparative data (both year-on-year and month-on-month) can be incredibly useful for ecommerce brands. When pausing activity, you lose this data.
When you return to peak activity, you won’t have this data in order to best optimise and manage your strategy. This will have an impact on cost, management time and results.
You will likely need to maintain a level of activity in order to keep this data for your campaigns.
Review your efforts regularly
Even though we would recommend a maintained level of marketing activity in times of uncertainty, it is important to review this regularly. It is more important than ever to optimise and update your strategy on a weekly or even daily basis.
You should work with your PPC, social or marketing agency and communicate regularly on how your campaigns are performing.