How Marketing Just Got 10 Times Harder May 21, 2020

Why Online Services Marketing Is So Much More Demanding

In these uncertain times, one thing is certain, business just got a lot harder. At least for the next 12 months and until a cure or other solution has been found to reduce the public’s anxiety, everything will run at a lower rate and slower pace, unless of course, you are in, or connected to, the medical sector.

So when business gets more sparse marketing follows closely. With fewer people going out, there will be less business for a variety of sectors. Many businesses are already adapting and diversifying, after many years of sitting on the fence about online. And suddenly everything has that online focus, many marketers have been dreaming about, and never foresaw that they will see this change being enforced, not by the evolution of consumer demand and the business reaction to it, but from a sudden and unexpected event of a global viral disease.

Taking Services Online

Going online with products and services is something that requires an increasing amount of expertise. Companies that have been making efforts to transition online, are better placed, others that ignored online marketing up until now, are now faced with an unprecedented task of adapting to the situation by transforming their business from a traditional operation to an online money-making machine. Easier said than done.

But how exactly does online demand transform marketing for a variety of local and other location-based businesses and their associated campaigns?

Outdoor Advertising 👎

The impact of outdoor advertising, ads on tubes, busses, billboards and any other outdoor setting will be severely subdued for the next 12 months. Companies that invest heavily in this area will have to rethink their marketing strategy and approach. This would possibly move these companies to spend more online.

Direct Marketing 👍

Direct marketing in the form of mail, could be expected to rise, as people stay more at home and are more open to written communications. Again companies have to think how to adjust to this new reality and how to best effectively reach their customers at a time of crisis.

Telephone Marketing 😢

As strict controls are now in place in regards to telephone marketing, it is unlikely that this will make any serious comeback. However, telephone communications will increase, benefiting telcoms providers but also putting more of a burden on all types of call centers.

Radio / TV Marketing 👎

Whilst both Radio and TV have been in decline, this situation might benefit them, as people stay more at home and spend more time listening to radio or watching TV. However both of these mediums still carry a very large price, therefore they are likely to continue to be inaccessible to most SMEs.

From Local to National Online Marketing

When a service is local, and accessible by a physical location, the marketing is heavily affected by the locality and the socioeconomic metrics. But when a service can be partly or wholly provided over video or over the phone, that service can easily change to a national or even international focus. This poses huge challenges for SMEs trying to adjust to the current crisis.

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When a company moves from a local to regional or even national stage the demands of the marketing campaign change rapidly. The competitors that target national business, tend to be larger and backed by larger businesses or funds. And many tend to focus online or have online-only operations which are much faster and easier to use with 24/7 serviceability. These factors make the competition significantly harder.


It really is a no-brainer that a national marketing campaign will need to have 10, 20 or 30 times larger a budget to be able to appeal in multiple locations across the country. This in itself poses great challenges on the transition period of a small local budget to an inflated national one.

Website Technology

Website technology has been a neglected area for SMEs. Most businesses still cannot recognize the real value of building online experiences that are highly tailored for their audiences and are happy to have an online presence without too much focus on the website. This is about to change dramatically as ease-of-use will become the greatest focal point.

SEO & other local online services

As Google and other services have localised their offerings to better appeal to people, larger businesses with a national focus have found it difficult to appeal to the millions of local searches. So unless search engines change the rules, local businesses trying to transition to an online offering will find their appeal initially limited. Much work needs to be done, to be able to compete, on a local, regional and national level for new phrases that have a very generic focus. The fight for top spots is going to be fierce and for every phrase, there can only be 10 winners. Are you going to be one of those ten?

Paid Search

Google and Bing Ads stand to gain from this situation, as it becomes harder to reach customers outside a confined local area more SMEs will turn to Pay Per Click Advertising to generate the interest they need to grow. So for at least the next 12 months, certain phrases will be in extremely high demand, pushing up the prices, and making Pay Per Click as challenging as ever.


One could think that reduced business means a reduced marketing budget, but if business overall becomes scarce, marketing spending will have to substantially increase to reach the same audience as before. Many businesses are not yet prepared for this eventuality but the faster changes are made, and budgets are re-allocated, the better for the longevity of each business.

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