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Marketing is pretty damn hard right now


In March 2020, we faced the COVID quarantine for the first time. Many of us lacked confidence or plans for the future, and Rand Fishkin reflected this in his article. Our team translated it for our readers, but still, we'd like to introduce you to some points from the original article, along with the comments from our experts.

The future seems grim: most experts estimate that we will face the worst economic downturn of the last 50 years. Almost all the informed people agree on three things about pandemic:

We should save lives by protecting economies – yes, we will inevitably get into a recession, but ironically, the overall health level can be improved.

We will most likely fail on the path of protecting health and economics for reasons unique to America’s politics, culture, & existing safety net. Though the “fail” is comparative if we’re considering the countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea, Denmark, Germany, and France.

3) Approximately ¼ of Americans will get unemployed, which will reduce spending and demand for a long period.

It Sounds depressing. But even in these circumstances, people continue to... consume. Three facts to illustrate the thought:

  • According to Akamai, Internet Traffic has surged by 50%, and peak loads are 2X last year’s.
  • People read much more news and engage more with media and finance sites: 57% more visits and 46% more time spent reading than last year, says Comscore data.     
  • Amazon is getting very busy, but there is a rapid growth of Amazon alternatives, too. 

People continue to read, watch movies, and spend money, they just go online for it. So Rand says that with such tendencies, there can be three huge “waves” of people shifting their activities.

Covid, Covid everywhere

Up to the next 12 weeks, there won't be a place for non-Covid-related content. People already spend way less, the exception is such sectors as groceries, food delivery, and remote work.

It is morally correct and proper to help people in these trying times, even in a small way – like this Coronavirus coping message at the top of the Wirecutter site.

The best marketing helps people first, and earns their business, as a result, says Rand, and puts an example - SeriousEats put the Coronavirus section, as a top item of their navigation.

More could be done, though:

  • Okay, you might have launched a cool guide to takeout and delivery in cities, but it is easy to take a step further - go and detect my browser location to show me my home city on the homepage.
  • Dell has a demand spike on the video recording equipment, and yet there’s no guide on cameras or recording devices to show people what they might need and help them with the choice. Come on, do better.

Some businesses do not reflect the situation – BMW could be more sensitive.

And some recognize and serve the real and actual needs: this Kettle & Fire commercial answers the need to stock up on food supplies.

Marketing is not about exploiting people, it is about helping them. Do not be afraid or ashamed to spend resources on such campaigns to get criticism for that – believe us, that’s not what matters, and it’s not what will be remembered.

Starting living online

Little by little online life will become a new norm, and Rand advises us to follow April Dunford‘s positioning playbook.

Be ready to adapt your business: what, how, where, and why you sell what you sell (either service or a product). People might postpone things like weddings, cars, room refurnishing, bog purchases, and things alike, but it simply cannot be postponed indefinitely. All this will come back, and you should just get ready.

The New Normal

We can already predict how the future will look after the biggest wave of the pandemic subsides. Some things will return:

  • live performances and sports events;
  • bars, cafes, restaurants;
  • travels. 

Some trends will persist - remote work, virtual meetings, increased takeout demand, more games+gaming, direct-to-digital releases, home workouts > gyms, and so on.

Some things might fade, though. People are sharing their thoughts.

Via Steve Hammer on Twitter

But believe us, a specialist in planning online events will get the skills and the reputation that will serve them a long time after everyone gets the full vaccine.

Conclusion with a short comment

We all have limited resources and can do noto much in the face of the world crisis, but believe us: there is a future. It is not as grim, we might not only survive but even grow under the inevitable economic pain and the tough times. The key is helping each other.


Marketers, like businesses, are now walking on the edge. Some - how to use the theme of the coronavirus, but not overdo it and not slide into the desire to “hype”. In the current conditions, with many unknowns, business found itself between the need to cut costs and the desire to use the current situation with maximum benefit because all of us are getting messages from every iron that it is the crisis that is the time for growth.

I will tell you how we did it at SPRAVA:

  • even before the start of quarantine, we developed an action plan for three scenarios: optimistic, medium-pessimistic and pessimistic;
  • minimized those costs that do not directly affect either production processes or sales; 
  • constantly controlled the cash flows in the company and checked with the mentioned plans;
  • discussed the current situation with the team as openly as possible; 
  • but most importantly, for a week now, we have a work plan that we can offer businesses for a quick GO ON-LINE, taking into account the TWO-MONTH VACATION during quarantine; you can find it here;
  • we have been building up our presence in the leading online sales channels for a week now, and now, when the activity of many players fade, we plan to work with the online audience actively.
  • What will be better for your company is up to you :)

We provide effective SEO for big E-commerce projects or small business in crisis times. Contact us right now!

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