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Marketing During and After a Global Pandemic

You’re here because you’re looking for the answer to the question, “Where do I go from here?” The coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we have ever experienced in our lifetimes and hopefully never experience again. It turned the entire world upside down and the aftermath of the effects is still yet to be seen. As we start to come out of this time that will undoubtedly go down in history, we have to think about a plan for our businesses and how to work in this new environment while still providing our customers with quality experiences and products.

There is no right answer to what is best. We don’t want to tell you what to do, because in all honesty, this is new territory for all of us. What we can do is help and provide assistance to guide you in the right direction to get you and your business back on track.

Here at Midwest Marketing we dug deep into the archives, researched past economic downturns, and talked to medical professionals to put together a guide to post-pandemic marketing for you. So please, use this resource of articles, podcasts, and white papers as your guide to getting you back on your feet. If anything at all needs further clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, at (605) 716-5666, we’re more than happy to help.

P.S. Check back often as we will continually update this page with more content!

*DISCLAIMER* This is the opinion of Midwest Marketing.
We advise you to do what you think is best for the safety of your business, customers, and employees.  



Retailing Through This Uncertain Time

#Takeout Together

Rebooting An Economy In Free Fall

8 Marketing Initiatives to Consider During COVID-19

Dr. Brad Archer of Monument Health Gives His Thoughts On COVID-19

The Back To Normal Plan

Marketing Through and Around a Downturn

3 Considerations of Marketing During COVID-19



(Click here to download.)

Some Suggestions:

Assure customers/employees that you are here to help and have a solid plan in place

Offer customers the option to have you bring the item they are interested in to their home

Use wording such as “our hygiene team” and keep showrooms and workspaces clean

Offer to pick up a customers vehicle if needed for scheduled service

Send product videos to customers via email or text

Keep your COVID-19 messaging short and simple

Do not over post!

Use video to actively show what you are doing

Use social channels for live chats or virtual events

Let customers know your hours

Inspire our community

Develop a crisis management plan or review the one you have

Inform and support; be sincere, sensitive and transparent; educate, serve and give back

Be positive, this too shall pass!

Predicted Media to Grow – Digital, TV, OTT, CTV, Social, Podcasts
Predicted Media to Decline – Billboards, Print, Trade Shows, Experimental


Phase 1: Immediate Response

This is an unprecedented global crisis. Brands need to consider an unprecedented response. The action taken by brands during difficult times will be remembered for years to come. Be brave and be a leader in your response.

Phase 2: Adapt and Pivot

Be resilient and optimistic and be ready to pivot in uncertain times. React quickly, adapt to the new reality. Consider new formats, engage and stay active, leverage the power of community.

Phase 3: Market Revival

Although the outbreak will be mostly contained, people will need time to trust the recovery. The brand’s focus should be positive and optimistic. Create new campaigns with a strong call to actions and emotional connections to re-engage consumers. Brands that prepare for recovery, will build strong foundations for the future. As the market recovers, remember to celebrate with staff and customers.



(Click here to download.)

Some economic projections are starting to emerge regarding COVID-19. A non-profit business research group, The Conference Board published an analysis of 3 potential scenarios explaining when the country’s economy might recover, depending on when new coronavirus cases in the U.S. peak.

1: The “May Reboot”
U.S. coronaviruses peak by mid-April, enabling economic activity to resume in May.

•  The economic side of the crisis would last 6 weeks, leaving many industries unscathed (Entertainment, Recreation & Transportation would take the largest hits)

•  Unemployment would rise to 8% by Q3.

•  Consumer spending would decline by 2.5% YOY.

•  Strong declines in investments expected until Q3 & Q4.

2: The “Summertime V-Shape”
U.S. coronavirus cases peak in May, leading to an economic restart by July.

• Retail trade, wholesale trade, and manufacturing would join the hardest-hit list.

• The economy would contract by a massive 35.6% during Q2.

• Unemployment rate of 15% Q3.

• Recovery would be sharper, thanks to increased summer activity

3: The “Fall Recovery”
U.S. coronaviruses are controlled and the curve is flattened, easing the strain on health care. A reboot wouldn’t be feasible until September.

• Finance/insurance & professional/business services would join the hardest-hit list

• Consumer spending would drop by 38% in Q2, recovering to just 18.5% in Q4

• The economy would contract by 6% YOY, the largest such decline since 1946

In all projections, the economic activity across the country will be down this year, but it is better to know than to not know what may be becoming.

Sources: The Conference Board



(Click here to download.)

1) Right now, the digital landscape is stronger than ever. Although people may not be coming in the doors to your business as frequently as they have been, people are still shopping. Social media, especially live and video content is getting plenty of engagement. You can also use your social channels for live chats or to host virtual events for customers. First and foremost, have a clear message to let your customers know if you are open or closed.

2) While Google searches are extremely heightened right now, don’t forget about YouTube. YouTube is the number two search engine after Google. If you have a catalog of videos now it a great time to create your own channel or start one from scratch if you don’t. “How To” videos are the number one searched topic on that search engine.

3) Your digital footprint, especially your website should be the most relevant and up to date, it’s ever been! Now’s a great time to dive into your Google Analytics and see what content is getting engaged with and why. This may be the time to test out an online-only offer. With Google Analytics not only can you help look at the content you can analyze the customers and channels your customers are using to get there.

4) Speaking of analyzing your customers, do you have Buyer Personas? Buyer personas help you gain a broader understanding of who your customers are and what they need from you. This helps you better serve each segment of your audience and provide them with advertising and insights that resonate with them.

5) Now is a time to consider adding a blog. How Does Blogging Help? Blogging helps boost SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers’ questions. For example, if you write a blog on the top five ways to a garden your page is very relevant to a new gardener who is looking for tips to start their first garden.

6) Survey says… that surveys are a great way to get feedback from customers, employees, target markets, and event attendees. A custom survey is the best way to truly understand your customers and get their wants and needs in real-time.

7) If you’re not already doing it, start email marketing! Stay top of mind, while tailoring your message to a qualified audience with Email marketing. Emails can be a great place to keep your customers informed and keep them in the know of what is happening in your business during this time and always.

8) You’ve got mail, the real kind, in your mailbox. People are home more than ever before and this is the perfect time to extend them an exclusive offer!

Many are seeking distraction from the Coronavirus and using online media as a distraction.  Inform and support; be sincere, sensitive, and transparent; educate, serve, and give back! This is an unprecedented global crisis. Brands need to consider an unprecedented response. The action taken by brands during difficult times will be remembered for years to come. Be brave and be a leader in your response.



Dr. Brad Archer from Monument Health stops by the podcast to discuss the situation at hand with COVID-19, his career in medicine and administration, the formation of Monument Health, and more!

Don’t miss this highly inquisitive episode!

Apple Podcasts: http://ow.ly/nJqh50tVtw6
Sound Cloud: http://ow.ly/NuCH50tVtw8
Midwest Marketing Website: http://ow.ly/eyyz50tVtw5
Stitcher: http://ow.ly/2ykA50tVtw7



(Click here to download.)

As we start to implement South Dakota’s Back To Normal Plan, Midwest Marketing encourages you to continue to use our resources and advice for marketing during and after the Great Lockdown.

 A Note From Midwest Marketing on Retailing Through This Uncertain Time encourages us to follow the three phases of COVID-19 branding from Immediate Response…to Adapt and Pivot and finally Market Revival. Take a minute and review which phase your business is currently in.

Continue to pick up and pay it forward to show your support of local restaurants with #TakeoutTogetherSD. Call in your order, pick up curbside, snap a photo, and post pictures to social.

Review the COVID-19 Scenarios article to see where we are in the economic projection scenarios of when our country’s economy might recover. Will it be the May Reboot, the Summertime V-Shape, or the Fall Recovery?

As we look for options of branding during this difficult time, review the 8 Marketing Initiatives to Consider During COVID-19. There are great suggestions that will help challenger brands and leaders to take things up a notch and plan a strong offense.

Dr. Brad Archer’s Podcast discusses the offense Monument Health put into place to conserve supplies and meet capacity levels. Listen to him discuss how their clinical and administrative COVID19 teams are meeting twice a day, seven days a week to keep the Black Hills safe and healthy.

Continue to follow our Great Lockdown resources as we continue to forge ahead to create life coming out of COVID. Consumer habits have been shattered, but they will retrain the forge ahead.

Midwest Marketing in Rapid City is open. Call us at 605.716.5666 or email us at dawn@mwmsd.com if you’d like to dive into any of these areas further.


(Click here to download.)

We’re in the middle of an economic downturn due to factors that are far outside our control. While this has hampered nearly every imaginable industry, it’s not the first time businesses have had to power through a downturn. This downturn may look a little different than the last but it is a downturn nonetheless. Let’s take a look at some previous recessions our country has faced:


The 1920’s

The 1920’s were roaring! For the most part this was a marketers paradise. People had money to spend and boy did they spend it. Merchandise was flying off the shelves left and right. There was a small downturn in the economy however in 1923. The Harvard Business Review looked at companies that continued to advertise through this recession and saw that they came out the other side 20% ahead of where they started. While their counterparts were down 7%.

The 1930’s

The Great Depression was like nothing we’ve ever seen before and hopefully never see again. People lost jobs, farms, houses, everything, at an alarming rate, and nearly all advertising was pulled. Kellogg was one company that actually continued its marketing during the Great Depression. As crazy as it sounds, “ready-to-eat” cereal hasn’t always been an American favorite. In the 1920’s two companies, Kellogg and Post, owned the small cereal market. Once the Great Depression hit Post cut back on expenses and reined in its advertising. Kellogg went the opposite direction, they doubled their ad budget and moved aggressively into new mediums of marketing to spread their message. The famous trio of Snap, Crackle, and Pop first appeared in the early 30’s as a part of this large advertising push. In 1933 when the economy was wobbling on its last leg, Kellogg’s profits were up thirty percent and had become and maintained their industry domination for years to come.

The 1980’s

We’re taking a big jump forward to the 1980’s. The 80’s provided us with the first study that analyzed marketing efforts not only during the recession but also the following three years. McGraw-Hill (yes the people that made your history textbook) Research analyzed 600 B2B companies and found that those who continued marketing efforts during times of recession had grown 275% over the three years following a recession over those who didn’t!

The 2000’s

More specifically, 2008, or the Great Recession. 2008 was the last time we’ve seen anything close to what we are experiencing now. Nationwide ad spending dropped by 13% with print and radio seeing the biggest drop-offs by far. However, out of the Great Recession the richest man in the world was born! Jeff Bezos and Amazon grew their sales by 28% in 2009 alone. They did this through continuing to innovate and release new products such as the very first Kindle. By not putting business on hold Amazon continued to soar into what we know them as today.

We understand that not everybody can afford to advertise right now, as budgets have been jumbled and hard times have fallen on most of us during the Great Lockdown. For those who still can, use this time to spread your message and make a bigger splash with the same investment, who knows you might be the next Amazon just waiting to happen!


(Click here to download.)

A COVID-19 marketing follow-up to 8 Marketing Initiatives During COVID-19 that we previously released.

If you are like most, you are probably asking yourself these and many other questions. Will advertising right now even serve a purpose? Are my customers even looking for my product right now? Is it too early to be thinking about future marketing? Should I re-valuate my messaging? These and many other questions like them are probably top-of-mind right now; COVID-19 has not only substantially changed the way you operate your business for the unforeseeable future, but it has also changed consumer behaviors, shopping habits, and the entire marketing and media landscape!

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your marketing during this time.

1.   Be conscientious and sympathetic.

    • Adapt to your customers’ new needs. Ask yourself, is your product or business essential to them right now if so, be clear how it is, but also be sympathetic to the fact that many just need to know you are there for them regardless. If it is not, do not stop marketing, it’s best to adjust your messaging to be more informational and less call to action. Stop yelling to start selling!
    • Give back! People want to know what you are doing to give back to the community, your employees, to support health care workers, to stay safe, etc. We have said it before, but it bears repeating, it also still important to let people know your hours and schedule.
    • Assure them of what you are doing to keep your business and employees safe? While it may be implied that you are following CDC guidelines now, it’s still important to keep your safety procedures top of mind.
    • Do not offer marketing specials around the pandemic and be careful of the tone of any comedic marketing or play on words during this time. While you might have a savings offer that has to be at the forefront, make sure to stay away from phrases like COVID sale, back to the normal sale, etc.

2.   Think about customer conversations now and conversions later

    • As stated above, what is important to your customers right now? Adapt to and align your stories to resonate now and bring awareness to your brand. Using the proper social channels and digital mix will allow you to think about the conversion later. You could consider creating a “conversion” such as inviting them to join your mailing list, participate in a survey that you can use later down the road to building a campaign or remarketing audience around.

3.   Clean up and look at what you have done in the past….this can mean the WAY past!

    • Work on an advertising assets audit. A marketing audit can deliver lots of insights for your company but looking at things such as your website’s blog, brochures, social media, collateral materials and more. Too often, we post something and then never go back to it again. An idea from 10 years ago, might just be relevant again in this unprecedented time.


If you need more marketing ideas during COVID, be sure to refer back to 8 Marketing Initiatives During COVID-19.

Midwest Marketing in Rapid City is open and we have many marketing packages available as well as mini marketing consultations. Call us at 605.716.5666 or email us at dawn@mwmsd.com to find out more about your marketing options.

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