PPC Advertising vs Trench Warfare

As the CV19 outbreak really starts to take hold we’re seeing some clients scrap their digital advertising plans. I think this is crazy and short-sighted. Just because a business is not able to function in its entirety, there is no reason it can’t keep ticking over to maintain what are essential services.

I once described PPC advertising as much like trench warfare in the Great War: It’s largely a war of attrition, small gains greatly amplify the success of the overall campaign, but much of the fight is about defending ground already gained, and improving efficiency and communications.

And herein lies the conundrum. Using the trench warfare analogy, an army doesn’t empty out the trenches and send the soldiers home simply because there is a ceasefire or a break in the fighting. The battlefront has to be ready to jump into action at a moment or twos notice and deployment of resources, troops and logistics take time and money. So, if it’s “all quiet on the western front” then, by all means, re-deploy some elements and resources elsewhere, but don’t shut the front down. Madness.

The enemy is in exactly the same boat; if they maintain a presence on the front and you don’t then they will have a free run of the battlefield, including the trenches you have fought so hard to win and hold. If you offer no resistance, the enemy can do this at little or no risk to themselves. Knowing the battle will commence again sometime in the near future, having no presence on the battlefield will place you at a substantial disadvantage when the inevitable comes. You must defend your position at all costs.

The extra cost of re-taking lost ground both in resource and time is something many businesses will not be in a position to do when the lockdown starts to get lifted. The idea that you can simply re-deploy exactly as you were before is a mistake, the battleground will have changed in your absence and you will have to effectively start a brand new campaign, from scratch.

Yes, it’s costly keeping the frontlines open, supplying, adapting, managing, and communicating the ever-changing needs. But unless we shut down for a year, it will undeniably cheaper and more effective to keep the trenches manned rather than abandon the field of battle. Some companies leaving the digital battlefield now will not return, or certainly not return to any semblance of former glory.