The Importance of Marketing In Tough Times

Why online marketing is so important right now

We’ve had a lot on our plates lately. Even as pandemic precautions loosen up, the ever-changing rules are confusing. For people with products and services to promote, it is tricky to know what the right move is. Nobody wants to be insensitive during a stressful time, and the temptation may be to lay low. But there are plenty of reasons why this is the moment to engage with more customers, not less.

“It’s definitely not the time to go radio silent,” Brittany Morin, The Business Advisor in Marketing and Communications at SADC Pontiac, says. “People need to continue hearing from their favourite companies and small businesses. I think people enjoy hearing about that even if it’s just ‘opening soon.’”

Mike McKay, Five2Nine Owner and Director of the Ottawa Adventure Film Festival, had a realization during the first stages of isolation. He knew the festival wouldn’t be able to run as planned, but some forward momentum on a plan b was the only other option. 

Media work for OAFF provided by Five2Nine

He responded by planning an online film festival in a matter of days. That, and keeping the OAFF website active with fresh content.

“I think the most crucial time for us to have been building content, and to leverage on our amazing team members, was during the time that the automatic reflex response would have been to go quiet,” he says. 

After a positive response for the “From The Couch” festival, he knew staying engaged was the right move. 

“I think we’ve expanded our brand by thinking outside the box and thinking positive,” he says.

Innovation keeps companies and clients afloat during uncertain times. People are on social media now more than ever, and a positive gesture from a trusted brand can mean a lot.

Lauren McFarlane, Operations Manager at Salus Marine Wear, talks about shifting gears. Customers usually get an education about Salus in retail stores, but that hasn’t been an option lately.

“During COVID, our shift has pretty much completely gone to how we’re going to restructure online. Whether it’s through Facebook or Instagram, and even just our website,” she says.

McFarlane wanted to get some enthusiasm going while keeping customers safe. That’s where the #SalusStayHomeGiveaway came in.

“Essentially it was: Get creative, show us wearing your Salus PFD at home,” McFarlane says. “And how you’re gonna be preparing for the upcoming water season whenever that may be.”

Creative submissions started popping up on Instagram with the hashtag. They include living room canoe setups, and even some creativity with a backyard slide. 

Salus Marine works with Five2Nine on positive, relevant content.

Morin says lighthearted promotions such as the Salus giveaway are a great move. She mentions local restaurants that have installed pick-up windows and created take-home kits. “It’s just something to kind of keep morale up in the local community,” she says.

For McKay, it’s about positive energy and forward momentum combined. Hesitating to take action can cause creative ideas to run dry.

“By stepping out and saying yes, it’s time to market, it’s time to push forward, it’s time to do a new campaign or a new approach, it really accelerated me past a point that could have easily gone into a real pit of negativity,” he says.

Five2Nine collaborated with SADC Pontiac on the Poutine Trail promo.