by Nicolle Huffman

March 17, 2020

We’re all trying to figure out the best way to navigate this unprecedented and fluid situation surrounding COVID-19 and what it means for us as individuals, as well as marketers. We’ve heard a few questions from clients regarding marketing efforts and whether or not various activities should continue during this time. Well, the truth is, this is an instance where there’s no hard and fast rules, and the answers aren’t always black and white. Below, I’ve outlined some thought starters for you to help you determine whether you should continue your marketing push or put it temporarily on hold.


Yes, Keep Your Advertising Programs Running
Despite the uncharted territories we’re all facing, you still have a business to run. You still need to raise awareness, capture leads and continue to be a part of the competitive landscape. So, there is a case to be made for keeping your ad program up and running—especially if you have a general awareness campaign or something that is unrelated to COVID-19. You could even get creative with your ads, like this local East of Chicago pizza shop, that is offering a free roll of toilet paper for orders $30 or more. Talk about capitalizing on a timely opportunity!

No, Take Down Your Advertising Program
There are instances where it may make sense to pause your advertising efforts, save your dollars and come back later when people have the bandwidth to pay more attention. We’ve seen this with some clients that are advertising conferences, gym memberships and other group-focused activities — or companies that have slightly “off” messaging during a time when hygiene practices need to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind (see KFC’s decision to cancel its Finger-Lickin’ Good commercial). While those things are worth promoting, during this time of uncertainty, it probably isn’t the best use of dollars.

Email Marketing

Yes, Email to Your Distribution List
Sending an email to your customers makes sense if your brand has something to offer related to COVID-19 or has made adjustments to its operations, services or business practices. Bonus points if your email list is segmented and you’re able to provide specific messages to specific audiences.

No, Keep Your Email for a Timelier Purpose
There are two clear reasons why you should hold off on sending an email:

    1. It states the obvious. If it’s clear that your business is going to change (i.e., you’re a bar, then you’re shut down) or if you’re a bank that’s just updating folks on how you’ll clean your ATM machines better, just save the email.
    2. It’s tone-deaf. Maybe you had an email prepped and ready to go before the pandemic really hit and it now feels off to send it. Your instincts are probably right so hold off.

At a time when every brand is in communication overdrive, it might be best to hold off, so your message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle or irritate your customers. I’ve seen this Tweet a couple of times that pokes fun at some brands that are sending just to send.









Social Media

  • Yes, Continue Posting
    If your brand has relevant, timely information about COVID-19, then feel free to post. If your business operations have changed slightly and you want people to know, it’s totally fair. According to eMarketer, 50% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 get their news from Facebook. So people will be logging on (if not more than usual) to get information – so it’s important to tailor your content to get their attention.
  • No, Pause the Posting
    Be sure to take a look at the content that is scheduled in your social media scheduling tool. Does talking about the latest tech trend make sense during a worldwide pandemic? If it feels wrong, remove it from the queue. The benefit of social media and paid advertising is that you get to own the content. Make sure that content is helping your brand and not turning customers or prospects away.

Some of these are more obvious than others, but if you have questions on whether or not your marketing campaign should be put on the shelf for a few weeks, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help you think through it.