Consultant advises businesses to keep marketing to stay relevant to customers

"Shutting the faucet off and expecting just to turn it back on is not a smart scenario," says Ryan Dohrn.

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  • | 5:40 p.m. April 1, 2020
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Staying relevant and in front of customers is key to staying afloat during the coronavirus outbreak, said Ryan Dohrn, a marketing consultant and business coach.

Advertising, email blasts and social media can be ways to do that, especially when face-to-face interaction with customers isn’t possible.

“When you stay in front of people at a high frequency, when this crisis subsides, you’re top of mind to them,” Dohrn said. 

Dohrn provided a marketing webinar April 1 called “Crisis Marketing and Survival Strategies for Local Business Owners.” It was presented by the Observer Media Group. More than 500 business owners statewide attended the online seminar. 

Dorhn is the founder of Brain Swell Media, a sales strategy coaching firm, and Sales Training World, a web portal and event company that provides sales training.

Companies that are advertising already shouldn’t stop, Dohrn said, citing examples of companies who continued to market themselves in the 2008 economic downturn, and came out stronger than others who didn’t. 

Domino’s Pizza launched a new pizza recipe in that time, doubled down on marketing and grew its revenue and market share. 

“You can cut back a little on marketing, but shutting the faucet off and expecting just to turn it back on is not a smart scenario and I don’t advise any local business owner to do that,” he said.

Communicating with customers now is difficult, and Dohrn recommended sending personalized emails to customers or videos on social media, letting them know what’s happening with the company.

An insurance agent can make a video with tips on activities to do at home with the family. A nonprofit can encourage people to continue donating. 

To reach the right people with social media posts, Dohrn said geotargeting is the best option. He spends a great deal of his marketing budget on that for his own business. 

A big mistake businesses make is thinking about the immediate future rather than the end goal, he said.

“Survival is about making decisions for the long game,” he said. “How can I get through this when it’s over? Dig deep. This is about survival in the long game. If you’re trying to sprint right now, you’re probably wasting your money.”