Richmond-area advertising expert compiles list of mistakes businesses need to avoid during pandemic

Richmond-area advertising expert compiles list of mistakes businesses need to avoid during pandemic
821 Bakery Cafe advertises for customers that they are still open in Richmond, Va., March 18, 2020. (Source: Parker Michels-Boyce for the Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As businesses continue efforts to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, an advertising expert is weighing in on the mistakes they see businesses make during these unprecedented times.

Brennan Spoonhower from Silent Partner Media says managing an advertising budget and adjusting a marketing strategy is critical surviving the pandemic.

“Too often, we see clients become paralyzed by the uncertainty they face. That fear then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with disastrous consequences. Be cautious though, not pausing and moving forward as if nothing has changed is foolish as well. If faced with the choice of whether to pay your employee or run an ad, the decision should be pretty obvious,” Spoonhower said.

Not Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy

Spoonhower says to remember that customers are living differently than they did a few months ago, so a business needs to find new ways to reach them.

“In looking at your marketing strategy, you’re going to need to focus on four things. Your advertising budget, the mix of media you’re buying, your advertising message, and where you’re placing your ads. While looking at these marketing components, remember your customers are now living different lives,” Spoonhower said.

Thinking You Can Do This Alone

According to Spoonhower, most business owners don’t know how affordable an advertising agency is, and businesses should utilize them during this time.

“Depending on your media mix and spend, there is often little or no cost to the client. Agencies often receive discounts that act as commissions. This brings the client needed expertise and no added cost,” Spoonhower said.

Believing There’s No Way You Can Afford It

For the most part, everyone is working willing to work together to get through this pandemic, including advertising agencies and their media partners. Silent Partner Media says it has also adjusted to today’s climate by doing result-based billing and deferred billing.

“Our clients, our media partners, and partnering agencies all realize the uniqueness of these times. It’s going to take a lot of partnership to emerge as successful on the other side,” Spoonhower said.

Not Getting Back to Basics

Spoonhower says to go back to the time when you first opened up your business and think about what you did to get customers to come in the first place.

"Now is not the time to be too proud to ask for help. It has been my experience that people are supportive and want to see businesses succeed. So, dust off that roll-a-desk, use your personal social media, or stand out in front of your business with a sign (and a mask). There’s an old saying, “you need to dance with who brung ya.” In this context, that means to go back to the things that made you successful in the first place. And by all means, set your pride aside,” Spoonhower said.

Not Having a Sincere Message

When advertising, Silent Partner Media says to make sure your message is sincere, true and honest.

“People can spot a phony a mile away, and they can destroy you on social media for it. They also know when people are sincere. If they believe in you, they will do your advertising for you by broadcasting it out there to their network of friends and followers,” Spoonhower said.

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