Digital Marketing Mistakes To Avoid During COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis

Last Update: Jun 25, 2022 @ 11:13 am
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digital marketing during covid 19

When the world is dealing with a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a pandemic (like what we have today), there are times when brands/organizations opt to pause any digital activity amidst confusion and certainty and hopes to resume when all dust settles. Unknowingly, these digital marketing mistakes during the crisis, are hurting their brands.

In general it is a must that business owners and digital marketers must read the mood of its direct buyers to be able to constantly connect with them. Some had successfully risen to the challenge of providing emphatic and engaging content.

Encouraging “social distancing”,  McDonald’s Brazil reimagined its logo by separating its iconic golden arches to respond to the call of times.  Nike encouraging everyone to be on top form despite the lockdown. There are a lot of these that is worth noticing.

On the other side, there have also been brands that were tone-deaf and blind to the situation who launched poor campaigns and untimely promotions.

for others, Marketing during these stressful times is like paddling on rough seas. It feels aimless and you hardly feel like you are progressing. 

But there are plenty of resources found on the internet to address these. In this article, we will share to you what digital marketing mistakes during crisis that you need to avoid and the action plan moving forward.

coronaImage from JHU Hub

COVID-19 Economic Impact

But first, let’s take a look at the pandemics economic impact:

United States


The Philippine government has also opened up a $1.5 billion loan to help fund its novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response program and to strengthen the country’s health care system in its fight against the pandemic.

COVID-19 Financial Challenges

In short, there are numerous financial and operational challenges the government must face. But this burden is also extended to the business leaders and their management.

They must navigate through these uncharted waters to address the needs of their people and customers. And they must stabilize revenue, address the supply chain disruptions, and quickly identify new growth channels and pivot.

Leaders also have to manage future unforeseen crises and events that can take a toll on worker’s productivity and mental health. From planning about how to make it work, what to stop doing, and which initiatives to start. 

Recovery Phase: Maintaining Relationships

Overall, the recovery phase of the pandemic provides leaders with a compelling reason to engage and strengthen the overall connection with their employees.

And they can do so by recognizing and addressing the core human emotions which we face such as grief, loss, and anxiety in the workplace. 

Don’t forget that humans aren’t robots. They are affected by the pandemic whether they admit it or not.

And your efforts to care for their mental health is crucial as they help to build up the organization’s health, productivity, and even talent retention.

In addition, the companies that have supported their workforce and have demonstrated their reliability and reputation. Can use this time to maintain and build on that trust that employees, customers and clients are seeing in them.

And similar to having the right mood inside the organization, your digital marketing campaigns should also have these tones of empathy and awareness of the situation the community faces.


Importance of Digital Marketing During a Crisis

You must have heard how a lot of people are talking about the possibility of an economic recession. As we enter an economic downturn, it might be tempting to cut costs by getting rid of your digital marketing investments.

That is actually a big mistake.

The fact is, marketing during a recession is more important than ever.

But how come?  here are the digital marketing mistakes during a crisis that entrepreneurs often make.

Here are three reasons as to why digital marketing during a crisis can be beneficial to your small business.customers

  1. It Keeps Your Existing Customers

During an economic crisis, you’ll need to focus on how to maintain the relationships with the customers that you already have. After all, you wouldn’t be able to bring in new customers in the near future with social distancing and GCQ being implemented. For Rico’s Lechon, a Filipino restaurant, it means being on top of mind of the client using digital marketing.

One of the reasons for maintaining your relationships is because your existing customers already know that they can trust you. They know your products and services are of quality and they’d likely support you during this time.

But if you go dark during a crisis, you will lose brand awareness. By not posting on social media, your website removes you out from your customer’s minds.

jkshdk-jImage from AAL Programme

  1. Showing Stability and Reliability Even during Uncertain Times

What is the best way for your business to inspire confidence? You get to show your customers that even in a recession, you are still active and remain operational.

Continuing your digital marketing campaigns during uncertain times shows that your brands can tough through the worst. And people are attracted to businesses that are resilient.

And you can inspire the same kind of confidence in others. Because, while a small business recession will give you the opportunity to promote your stability. 

Your customers and competitors will also be looking at how you innovated in your market through social media posts, web content

And by staying at their front, you’ll have more opportunities to reach more customers and prospects.


  1. Stay Ahead of Your Competitors

However, if you were thinking about cutting your marketing investments, you are not alone. But you don’t want to follow in your competitor’s decisions. 

To keep it simple, when your competitors decrease their marketing budget. Their “marketing noise” will also go down. 

Therefore, you can use this time to invest in your future customers as you no longer have to fight for their attention to have your messages heard.

You can also continue to tweak your marketing plan to fit whatever is happening in real-time. These updates show your customers how considerate and knowledgeable you are of the situation at hand.

READ ALSO; 15 Digital Marketing Strategies For COVID-19 Affected Businesses

Avoid These Digital Marketing Mistakes During a Crisis

digital marketing mistakes to avoid

Now that you have the idea on how useful digital marketing is during a crisis. We’ll share seven (7) Digital marketing mistakes during a crisis.


  1. Cutting You Marketing Spend                                      

When a recession hits, we see marketing as one of the first places that business owners are tempted to cut.

However, cutting your marketing budget will only help defend your profits in the short term. But for the long term, it can weaken and decrease your customers and even become less profitable once the crisis has passed.

Take it from Warren Buffet who mentioned that we need to be even greedy especially when others are fearful.

Because if we look at our business that is still driving new leads and sales, those continue to do well because your marketing spend continues to be present.

When your brand continues to create content, runs ads, or basically shows up in front of their customers. They are making sure that they remain recognizable and top of mind.


  1. Having an egocentric social presence

You must not forget that social media is a tool you use to drive engagement with your audience and potential customers. 

If you are only promoting your achievements or work that your company has completed. And you do not provide value to your content or posts, you become another ad that is shouting to the void without anyone hearing you.

We don’t mean to say that your contents aren’t valuable but rather you don’t want to be that friend that only talks about themselves. And you don’t ask whatever it is others have going on. 

Personally, you wouldn’t even enjoy those conversations. And you’ll definitely don’t want to be friends with that person anymore. Social media is a two-way conversation, just like any conversation you have in real life.

And this is why during a crisis, you should never provide content that is deaf to the current crisis that you are facing. 


  1. Not Reviewing Your Customers’ Current Psychological Needs

Once you understand that social media is a two-way conversation tool. You have to learn and research what your target audience needs and wants.

We usually start off by knowing your demographics which are age, gender, lifestyle, and beliefs of your target audience.

However, during a recession, you would also want to consider their psychological segmentation. This is to discuss how they are feeling stressed and anxious about the situation. 

There are different types of people and circumstances. You might want to think about the situation of your customers and categorize them into groups.

Group A: These are the most vulnerable and were financially hit.

If they reduce all types of spending, you might want to offer a wallet-friendly price or DIY initiatives.

Group B: These people are patient and resilient about the long term. But they are less confident about the recovery in the near future. 

These are probably your largest group so you might want to offer a lower-priced option that you can offer and focus on the benefits they can gain by sticking with you.

Group C: The Well-Secured Group

They are a comfortable group who feel secure about their ability to ride out this crisis. You will need to focus on quality when conversing with these people.

Group D: The Live for the day group.

They are the group that remains unconcerned about their savings and you probably want to remind them how they won’t be able to live without your offers.

216Image from Marketing91

  1. Changing your brand positioning

When we are at a crisis, it is normal to assume that everyone will be cutting their expenses. However, learning from the previous marketing mistake. 

As you are tempted to provide discounts and sell cheaper variations on what you normally provide.

You do not want to fall into the trap of lowering your prices. Because this brand positioning could confuse and alienate your loyal customers.

You will be able to attract new customers but once the recession ends your business will be in a weaker position.

What you need to do is focus on the value you provide.

Remind your customers why your offer remains a little bit pricey. Take the recession as the time to reinforce your branding and improve customer satisfaction than your revenue.

Although the world changes around us, it is important for you to know how your target customers are changing their priorities. But you should avoid lowering your value at all costs


  1. Neglecting mobile optimization

Even without a crisis, this should already be a part of your list. Why? 

Simply put, as the government continues to implement the enhanced quarantine. More people are browsing on mobile phones than on the desktop. You’ll need to use an emulator to make sure of the responsiveness of your website. And that it looks good and navigable across different platforms.


  1. Tone Deaf Marketing

We all know that one person who gets on our nerves because they kept stating the wrong things at the wrong time.

Common sense isn’t so common. And sometimes, online entrepreneurs might pursue opportunities even in the face of a crisis.

But lead with empathy. At least during these hard times.

Every single person is facing a different reality than the one they lived not too long ago. 

How would you sell to someone who is grieving or at a loss? Step in their shoes, and think about what you would like to hear from the brand as a customer going through these uncertain times.

While as a business you have to keep on marketing but lead with empathy. You may provide free advice, memberships, and more that can help your audience know that you care more than just dollars and cents.


  1. Going with the Pack. Stand out. Get Creative!

Check out what your competitors are doing. But do it better! Once you copy them, you lose.

You may have already seen that there are too many of the same things being sold online. 

We see an increase in webinars, online summits, coaching, and more. So you might want to think through your market carefully and ask how you can cut through the noise and sell your online services without looking like another “one of those ads”.

This is when you’ll need to put on your creative hat. You’ll need to use this opportunity to think and innovate ways to market and sell online.

How can you create something uniquely different from the rest?

Remember, a new idea doesn’t have to be entirely new. You can mix one idea and another to create an entirely new one. Search the internet for these inspirations.

Because during a crisis, only those who are innovative and creative businesses will surely survive.

READ ALSO: How to Pivot Your Business Digitally During COVID-19


Image from 360 PSG

Digital Marketing during a Crisis

Now, let’s face facts. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting public safety and day-to-day life. The government continues to implement stricter measures on travel and interactions so businesses are taking a hit.

What We Do Know

  • The pandemic has affected physical businesses

With social distancing becoming a new reality. Brick and mortar businesses are hardly getting any foot traffic. And online retailers are struggling to meet the demand due to limited logistics. 

  • The decrease in Spending means Increase in Cost Cutting

It is still true that marketing and advertising will be the first to go to conserve funds through a crisis. And while there are benefits to continuing your marketing campaigns, we are only guiding you as to the benefits of continuing your online efforts.

But if possible, you might still want to throw in one or two ads from time to time. Because as people continue to stay at home. Online traffic continues to spike.

It is up to your creativity on how to pivot and continue to provide your service even with a skeletal workforce.

But always prioritize the safety and health of your employees and people as they will be the ones who will help you stabilize once the crisis is over.

Maintain a Healthy Online Presence

Despite the drastic changes in the market. You absolutely need to maintain a healthy online presence.

It might seem like the future is bleak but it holds plenty more possibilities and assessment on how to become stronger. Take a look at your branding strategy. rework your messaging and fix your website issues.

There is no problem with taking the long game. Your goal is to come out of this stronger than ever.

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Ruben Licera
Ruben Licera is one of the Philippines' international award-winning communications professional and digital marketing experts. know more about him at
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