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How To Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget During Troubled Times

Julia Wild

Julia Wild

Director of Strategic Initiatives
  • Last Updated: December 13, 2023

In This Article

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During these challenging times, it can be difficult to know what is best for your business. Read more to learn about 4 ways to manage risks and protect your business.

There is no question COVID-19 has affected all of us – from the way that we connect, work, shop and see the world.

Our businesses are currently in unprecedented times, in which we’ve had to quickly adapt our strategies and budgets to new market circumstances.

Many have had to limit their budgets, pull back on traditional marketing and even in some cases downsize their teams.

Even though many places are beginning to return to some sense of normal, COVID has left a lasting impact on nearly all industries, including affiliate marketing, and we still don’t know to what degree.

So how do we adapt in times like these – to reduce the risk to our businesses, reputations and make sure we can still support our customers?

We’ve put together four tips on how to best protect your businesses during troubled times.

Tip 1 : Understand Your Customer

Having a clear picture of your customer and what their needs are during this time is key to keeping their loyalty and trust.

This is a perfect opportunity to invest in the relationships you do have so that you have a strong foundation to start building new ones as things return to normal.

According to Campaign US, industries around the world have been forced to pause advertising amid the COVID-19 outbreak, risking huge loss of brand equity.

But marketers should be using this time to double down on its consumer relationships, experts have stressed.

Research has also shown that people prefer authentic messaging that isn’t exploiting the current circumstances.

The Kanar COVID-19 Bromoter report shares that 64% of consumers want brands to communicate their values in their messaging. 75% also said brands should not exploit the coronavirus situation to promote the brand.

Participant parameters: 18+. Conducted by 4A’s Research Services via Suzy on 3/18/2020. Total participants: 1000

Tip 2 : Timing is Key

Adapting your marketing tactics coming out of COVID will help you to manage risk and test the waters with your customers.

We recommend taking an iterative approach to test and learn what customers are most likely to engage with and where you’re likely to achieve the greatest traction.

Sensitivity during this time is still incredibly heightened. Websites like are highlighting those businesses that adapted well during this time period (and those that did not).

For example, banks like Ally Bank took a number of actions to help their customers – like waiving fees for overdrafts and ability to defer loan payments by up to 120 days.

Another e-commerce example is Uber Eats. They have worked to offer zero delivery fees to support the local restaurants in Canada and the US.

It is the same with banks and fintechs, as many are busy with PPP loans and providing support — from payment deferrals to creating videos on how to use banking apps for everyday banking and bill payment.

Bank Of America for example is constantly updating their website with information and support for the customers during this time.

Understanding the current situation is crucial at this time – and sharing the facts. Whether you are a bank or an influencer on social media, be careful to ensure you are providing value and not spreading misinformation.

Tip 3 : Adapt Your Marketing Tactics

Media habits are changing and your audience might not be consuming content the same way they did before.

Consumer behavior is influencing media consumption so the media channels where your customers were previously spending their time may not have the same impact.

According to Kanar COVID-19 Bromoter Report, in later stages of the pandemic, web browsing increased by 70%, followed by (traditional) TV viewing at 63% and social media engagement by 61% over normal usage rates. provides a helpful summary of how people are spending their time online and explains how many are expecting to increase their usage or consumption in certain activities:

Tip 4 : Manage Budget Using Performance Marketing

While some brands have had the bandwidth to ramp up marketing efforts via traditional channels, others are having to pull back and adapt to make the most of their budgets.

A great way to manage risk and contain efficiency ratios is to incorporate performance marketing tactics into your overall mix.

There are a number of advantages to leveraging channels like affiliate marketing at this time.

For one, affiliate marketing is a channel that allows you to grow your brand reach and only pay for the customers or sales you get.

It is also a channel where you can gain valuable, third-party endorsements to help build brand equity and ensure you’re getting the right message to the right customer.

Finally, it is a good underlying channel that can be product-based, to ensure customers are being directed to the areas of most value to them.

One key factor of success for this channel is being able to track your campaigns end-to-end.

According to McKinsey, intensive users of customer analytics are 23 times more likely to outperform their competitors in terms of new customer acquisition than non-intensive users, and nine times more likely to surpass them in customer loyalty.


Fintechs and financial institutions can boost sales and business performance despite the pandemic and its global effect.

It is a matter of adapting your marketing strategy and making the most of your marketing spend during a time of disruption.

Those businesses that have a glass half-full approach and adapt their tactics to make the most of their circumstances will come out on top.

We hope the above key insights are a helpful starting point to look at your current marketing strategy and where you can adapt for success.

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