All marketers currently have one burning question: how do I market during coronavirus pandemic? Many brands are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and are slashing their marketing budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is that really the answer? The marketing department’s job is to help promote the brand to gain sales, but are sales of the utmost importance during a time of economic strife?
The most important thing any marketer can do now is leave any thoughts, feelings, solutions and recommendations out of the picture and let the professionals do the talking. We are, after all, just marketers, and our job is to sell the product and brand USP. We shouldn’t be shy to talk about business during the age of the coronavirus; the cogs of the industry need to keep churning on and those cogs are best greased by effective marketing. Marketers need to drive demand like never before so that the workers and their families can continue to thrive and we can help to stimulate the economy.
Some marketers may fear that working remotely will compromise their brands during a coronavirus crisis, but in a digital age, how hard can it be? In fact, brands like Zoom and other online conferencing systems have risen to the occasion and allowed their business tools to be used for free.
Take your events virtual
So why the fear? Businesses and marketers feel that running productive meetings remotely will be somewhat or very challenging. But did the Carmella Crew not just prove that it CAN be done by taking the Rocky Mountain Summit purely into the digital space in a matter of days? What can be scarier than taking an entire marketing summit virtual? While it is true that working remotely from home will impede on your personal life, should you not be more happy that you still have a job during this time?
“The wheels of industry need to keep turning so workers are paid and families are fed. Those wheels are best greased by effective marketing.” –Mark Ritson, Marketing Week
The good news here is that there are ways to be more effective while working remotely. One of those methods, we touched on above; running effective virtual meetings and optimizing them for time, decision-making and outputs. Next comes with a shift in perception and outlook on the situation: using remote working as an opportunity for deep work. Deep work (https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/deep-work-the-secret-to-achieving-peak-productivity/) is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy. What does this mean? Well, think of how often you would be interrupted in the office space. Your chances of being interrupted at home (unless you have children) is significantly less. Additionally, while some may think they are less connected to the happenings of the business while working remotely, it’s as simple as picking up the phone, sending a text or email, or scheduling a Facetime or Zoom call.
But, let’s get back to the core topic of this blog; marketing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As the coronavirus pandemic expands faster than we can keep up (for Canadians, this is only the very start) we will begin to see examples of brands who remembered their values during this crisis, and of those who chose to press the delete button leaving customers and employees to their own devices. And, as most marketers already know; customers have excellent long-term memory’s. So, what do you do with your now small marketing budget? You may want to err on the side of a long-term strategy, as no amount of short-term marketing is going to stimulate a target market that is terrified and closing their wallet to anything that is non-essential. We are seeing the market break into new customer groups:
Slam on the Brakes segment – they feel the most vulnerable and will generally eliminate, postpone, decrease, or eliminate.
Pained but Patient – resilient and optimistic, but are less confident about the prospects for recovery and return.
Comfortably Well-off consumers- comfortable and secure about their ability to ride out current and future bumps in the economy.
Live for today – carry on as usual, remain unconcerned about the economic changes which are happening currently.
How will this affect your buyer’s journey?
This will all affect the Path to Purchase and the Buyer Journey. So if you haven’t had a chance to dig into the buyer journey and attribution points and map all of this out, now is a great time to go ahead and do this. It’s time to dig in and map your customer attribution points out and take an in-depth look at your target customer.
Knowing the crisis will end and that this is the absolute wrong time to take your foot off the accelerator; so continue marketing during coronavirus with a few tweaks. Any sales not made during the time to recovery will most certainly be lost. Continued online promotion is more important than ever, and it is essential that your brand and products are visible and available online. By going “dark” merchants risk courting brand irrelevance, which they may not recover from.
Then, use your marketing to build your brand and reputation and keep your customer loyalty high, and they’ll come back because remember; this isn’t going to last forever. It’s in your best benefit to shine light on your brand values in the face of this crisis, and invest in brand-building marketing during coronavirus because with all of your competitors scrambling to make money in this time of economic strafe, there is the opportunity to actually come out alive, and ahead.