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The Catalyst to Recovery

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Marketing options to help retailers survive disruption.

Before the global disruption of COVID-19, the retail industry was already facing an unprecedented crisis. Record numbers of businesses filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and that trajectory was predicted to worsen in 2020. The virus will expedite the closure of many retailers and businesses around the world, serving as the nail in the coffin for many who were already struggling to adapt and survive.

Difficult choices will need to be made. Departments will be downsized, projects abandoned and budgets eviscerated. I’ve seen the process over a dozen times, working with one of our clients, a major asset disposition firm in the U.S. Over the years, my agency has orchestrated and executed marketing campaigns for distressed retailers and businesses to help them recover financially, or, as a last resort, assisted them in liquidating their business to maximize any and all possible returns.

Marketing is often victim to the first round of budget cuts within a struggling business. Paradoxically, marketing is also going to be the catalyst for recovery. In order to survive, customers need to know you exist. So how do you continue advertising when you’re short on cash and doing everything you can to preserve your company?

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The Media Barter

One avenue to consider would be corporate trade, or as it’s more commonly known, media barter. With barter, a distressed company can “sell” almost any asset to a barter agency in exchange for media credits. Basically, it’s marketing dollars in exchange for assets.

Historically, this practice has a bad reputation: in the past, Media companies would trade bad inventory in exchange for valuable products, resulting in poor campaign performance and ultimately damaging businesses even more. Today, however, there’s far more oversight and transparency. An agency like George and Saul will develop a media plan that is tailored to your business and work with the barter agencies and media companies to secure inventory that works within that plan. This oversight guarantees an effective campaign that helps your business by generating cash from unneeded assets and putting those dollars to work by increasing customer awareness and driving sales.

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Send your retail to the cloud.

Another option would be to shift almost your entire retail footprint online. This process can be daunting, especially for retailers accustomed to brick and mortar stores, but an agency with experience in ecommerce can help you make the transition, establishing proper sales and marketing funnels to drive new and existing customers online. Having started our own ecommerce business, we know firsthand the challenges associated with operating an online retail store.

With the economy ravaged, many businesses will be faced with difficult decisions in order to remain profitable. Some will be forced to close, while others will need support to offload distressed assets and generate cash quickly. Working with an agency that has experience in the liquidation space can help you recover more efficiently and set your business up for success in the aftermath of this virus. Closing your business should always be a last resort and with the proper support, your company can pull through this challenging time.

George and Saul is a creative and media agency that specializes in retail, sports, alcohol and CPG marketing. They have developed and executed marketing campaigns for distressed retailers across North America, helping companies become profitable again in an age of disruption.