COVID adaptation – finding your target audience, and how you can stretch your advertising budget.

I’ve been in the marketing industry for many years. In fact, I’ve seen it through 2 different recessions. I’ve had the privilege of branding, designing, and launching 4 different businesses in that time, so trust me when I tell you that I understand the pain of not knowing how to stretch the budget to make it work, how to find clients when it seems they’ve gone into hiding, and worst of all, how to let some of your staff know that you can’t keep them on.

Let’s just call it what it is from the outset – extremely difficult and painful. 

You’re not alone in that battle. So, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing… take a moment, let your shoulders and jaw relax. Take a deep breath, and stop pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. For the next few minutes, just rest, read, and let’s have a fireside (yes, that’s a Matchlight pun) chat – one decision-maker to another.

So… here we are. COVID crushed the market. Then America reopened. Now it’s surging again. 

I can’t tell you how many decision-makers I’ve talked with personally over the last couple of months that say something like,

“Listen… I know we need to advertise but we’re running a skeleton crew right now, and there’s no money to spend. Please check back with us the first part of the year, and hopefully, things will be better then.”

Let me begin by saying – I understand. Completely. There’s no question that the market has changed and that these are trying times. Let me continue by saying, there’s still money in circulation… it hasn’t just disappeared from the world economy. Don’t believe me? Let me list a few companies and you tell me whether you think they’ve grown or gone down in flames due to COVID:




Peleton Fitness


That’s just to name a few. How about TV markets? I know that my household figured that since we’d be quarantined we should upgrade… Here’s another one – appliances. We just signed a brand new client today that is in the home appliance business. They told me, first hand, how their business BOOMED in the middle of the pandemic. Why? Simple. People were home more. People were staring at stoves and ovens that hadn’t been upgraded in years. Oh yeah… and if you don’t think the market on freezers went nuts, you should think twice. How about Doordash and Uber Eats?

See? You get it now. The money is still there. It just moved. What’s your job now? To find it. 

That’s all. 

Find where your target audience has moved. Learn how they’ve changed their buying habits. And then find out how to go get them on an affordable level. 

So, now that we’re on the same page, here are three tips for making the most of your advertising budget.

Number One:

Take a step back, and rethink. 

It sounds like it’s common sense, but trust me when I tell you, this is what I do for a living. While it stands to reason that you should rethink your advertising spend – tons of folks seem to think they need to wait this one out and then get back to marketing and advertising “as usual.”

Guess what… That normal may NEVER exist again. So, instead of waiting for “normal” to come back around, start thinking about “now” and where your target audience is. You might have been a company that had a big marketing spend in signage in stores. The only problem is – the foot traffic in stores isn’t there. Maybe your business had to do with in-home visits for sales or service… but you’re non-essential and Phases 1 & 2 nearly wiped you out. Those people – your target audience – still exist and so does their need for your product or service. You just have to think about how to find them now. 

Number Two:

Think about referral rewards programs. 

We have one, and I highly recommend it. Let me paint a picture for you. Joe signs up with Matchlight and is ecstatic about our service to his company. Joe has a friend Susie, but her brick and mortar location is closed because of the virus. The only thing is, Susie has continued doing business. She is now shipping directly to people’s homes, but she doesn’t know how to let them know that other than hanging a sign on her business’s door and hoping people go by and find out.

Lucky for Susie, Matchlight has a referral program. Joe picks up the phone to let Susie know about the great relationship he has with this red-hot marketing firm and tells her that he thinks they can absolutely help her ramp up her door-side service model. Susie calls Matchlight, and Matchlight is more than happy to help. Joe gets 15% off next month’s bill, Susie finally gets her message to her audience, and Matchlight has a brand new client. 

All without having to step foot inside of anyone’s store. Talk about a win-win-win.

Number Three:

View your Social Media presence as a non-negotiable. 

It has been that way for a while, but plenty of companies have neglected it because they could. Now? Your target is at home, not going out as much, and they’re on social media more than maybe you have fathomed. Here’s a look at part of the uptick, per the New York Times:

… and that’s just three. Let’s talk about Instagram:

According to Instagram’s growth last year had pretty much stalled. They projected only 1.5% growth in 2020 from last year. Then there was COVID. Now it’s 14%.

“Instagram was pretty flat growth. We projected a 1.5% growth in 2020, but because of COVID-19, it’s actually going to see the biggest, strongest growth out of all of the socials that we cover. Nearly 14% growth. That’s about 3.2 minutes when you add that up.

For Facebook, I was going to mention that 4.3% growth is about a little over a minute, so this three minutes is actually extraordinary.

And we do expect that there will be a slight decline in 2021, but a lot of this will be sticky behavior. It will be sustained into the future.”


For more information, you can read the whole article here (

Lucky for you, Matchlight Creative comes fully equipped with a Social Media Specialist. We call her the Online Community Architect (OCA if that’s too much of a mouthful), and when it comes to reaching your target audience where they’re spending all this time? She’s a guru. In fact, stay tuned for some of the hottest new Instagram tips coming out in a blog post next week from her. In the meantime – check out our Social Media page here and find out about the different packages we offer. You’ll see three different turn-key groups, with varying levels of intensity and saturation, for you to choose from. They’re fully bundled in one monthly investment and ready to help you ignite your vision and message to make sure it finds itself right to the people you want to come spend their hard-earned money with you.

COVID changed all of our lives, in one way or another. We can acknowledge that, and we can also flow with it. The money is still out there. Your clients are still out there. Matchlight Creative is filled to the brim with ideas on how to make that happen. Reach out to us today.

Stopping the spread of the virus doesn’t mean stopping the spread of your message.