Marketing in a pandemic: Learnings and Tips

Marketing in a Pandemic

Why We Are Talking About Marketing in a Pandemic?

To say the world has changed is a true understatement. Unless you were this Canadian sailor who returned to land after three months at sea and got the shocker, COVID-19 has impacted your life already. Many of us have lost our loved ones, our jobs, houses, or just the sense of a ‘normal’. Amongst this tsunami of changes has been a consistent pattern – most traditional industries (automotive, manufacturing) and bedrocks of the economy got hit pretty badly while a few gained (e-commerce, online payments). How we do business – produce, sell and survive has changed for everyone though. And the same is true for marketing. Marketing budgets have dropped across the world and it comes as no surprise that dramatic changes in marketing strategies for all companies – big or small are inevitable. 

So the question at hand is how do we go about marketing in a pandemic?

Let’s start with the fundamentals

Before you even begin your strategic marketing in a pandemic plans,

  1. Pause and Understand – Take time to understand what’s changed for your buyers. You know some of them will be hurting but there’s never a better time than now to reach out and check with them. Pick up the phones, make mass survey emails or just anything to hear from them. As long as you don’t send them template COVID emails like the big corporations do, any communication with empathy is good communication.
  2. Keep at it – If you’re still in business and can make survival payments, don’t stop your marketing projects. Yes, this isn’t the best time to launch new projects but consistency is the key behind any successful marketing organization. A crisis can be a great opportunity for your brand to stay engaged with your audience and let them know you’re here and staying strong – you’ll come off as a winner when the world is a little more sane again.
  3. Collaborate and share stories – The new world order respects organizations that go out of their way to help their customers and ignore pure profit motives. Showcase how your brand is helping the community at large, create and share engaging stories of strength and resilience. People appreciate companies with a good sense of community conscience and it’s the right thing to do anyways.

While you’re at it, let’s talk about some tactical tips that marketers can use in the COVID-19 era, 

  1. Be creative – Yes, it’s counterintuitive to try new things in a crisis environment but new ideas are best tried when the old way of doing things is no longer practical. 

For instance, in addition to all the digital and modern channels of communication, how about a direct mail campaign to reach out to your customers in a physical/personable manner? 

People are tired of webinars, online events and email templates – how about a direct mail campaign to say thanks to your customers and let them know you care and are open for business? 

  1. No better time than now for PPC ads – Since most PPC platforms like Google ads worked on an auction system, the costs for such ads have never been cheaper for smaller companies to try! Big corporations are slashing their budgets, taking their ad inventories off and that leaves you in a position to experiment with ads if you haven’t done so already. People are spending enormous time online while practicing social distance so you have an opportunity to reach new audiences at cheaper-rates-than-ever. 

For instance, test the waters in online advertising – Google and FB ad click rates are the cheapest now than they have ever been! 

  1. Offer real financial solutions – Have a business that requires big-ticket investments from your customers like house renovations and  finding it tough to get new business? Offer subscriptions or purchase plans! With many people struggling to pay their bills and relying on government help, this might be a great idea to test out payment plan providers to allow your customers the flexibility to make big-ticket purchases more affordably. Another avenue to be creative is by offering a lower entry price level for your services. As more and more people watch their budgets carefully, offering a no-frill/base fare for your services might be a great way to still gain business.

For instance, PayBright is a platform used by thousands of Cnaaidna merchants to offer payment plans to their customers and achieve significant increase in order value and attract a new customer base.

As we deal with the ongoing crisis, the message is simple to all businesses and marketers – talk less, listen more, stay engaged and don’t be afraid to try out new things! 

Got any more tips on how do go about marketing in a pandemic? I’d love to add to this list. Let me know here!

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