Marketing During COVID-19: What You Need To Know

June 28, 2020

As we navigate these incredibly uncertain times, it is important to notice what marketing adaptations will look like in the face of COVID-19. For many of us, it means wearing masks in crowded spaces, enjoying time with friends at a 6-foot distance, and even figuring out how to manage our work-life amidst a seemingly permanent home life. 

The public has generally understood how to adjust their lives to living through a pandemic. But, are marketers really doing the same, and adapting advantageously? Most say, no. And it seems that because of this, a large majority are sitting on some serious untapped potential.

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Listening

Like any effective marketing strategy, it is imperative that you listen to your audience in order to understand where to place your brand. The narrative of society surely carries the weight of an audience’s interests, and right now that is video communication.

For the purpose of understanding what that means for your business’s marketing strategy, take some advice from the brands that are doing it best. Popular job-search engine Indeed recently echoed the sentiment of video style communication in their commercial “COVID-19 Real Stories.” The ad put newly unemployed professionals at the forefront, showcasing their recent successes in securing jobs through the site.

Each testimony, recorded through a laptop camera, gave off an image of Zoom-style video communication. Although this approach, at any other point in time, would seem rather cliche, the message surely surfaced with the 4+ million Americans who’ve already lost their jobs because of COVID-19.  

Now, did you notice what happened there? Indeed did what every marketer should be doing at the moment: utilizing what’s in front of them to foster meaningful relationships with their audiences. 

Sincerity is what matters most right now. Audiences are more likely to resonate with content that acknowledges the current situation through a soft and emotionally padded hand. This is undeniably true, so making those meaningful connections through one-to-one communication is critical to absorbing new traffic.  

Marketing Through Understanding True Value

Marketing while understanding true value

Chris Hill, CEO and producer at Humble Pod, brings to light this idea of one-to-one communication, saying, “We’re still waiting to see exactly what’s working consistently, but we know two things are true: One-to-one personalized communications are most effective and – regardless of the communication channel – there’s a lot more noise and everyone seems to be saying the same thing. The only thing getting through is content that’s truly unique and valuable.” 

So what does value look like today during a mass pandemic? Value today is achieved through the understanding of two components:

  • First, by crouching down to the level, or interests of your audience. This is seen through Indeed’s example, where it was recognized that the brand took an active initiative to understand and listen to the narrative of society meaningfully, producing fabulous content that resonated well with audiences.
  • Second, by making a conscious effort to assess the reality of your audience members’ experiences. That is, concluding what is most important to people right now: the health of themselves and their family members.

Upon recognizing this aspect of value, it is time for you to create it. Understand your business objectives as you ask yourself, “What sort of content would I like to see during quarantine?”, and “What would capture my interest as I sit home all day?” Answering these questions will hone in on where you’d like to go in terms of creating content and bringing that element of one-to-one communication into play.

Following Conversation

Phones helping following conversations

With regard to paid media, ensure that you re-evaluate your firm’s value propositions and tailor them to fit the mold of the world’s shifting conversation.

Every day is a changing narrative, and meeting the demands of consumers is super important to keeping with the tide. If marketers are concerned about their campaign strategies and declining demand, look no further. Here are some ways to capture audience attention.

According to Susan Friesen, Business to Community (B2C) contributor, “You can increase the appeal of your ads and encourage more people to click with relevant value propositions, whether it’s free shipping, home delivery options or a limited-time discount—just be sure you’re not using anxiety or fear around the pandemic to sell.”

Moreover, it is clear that both anxiety and fear have been at the forefront of practically everything today, so remember to keep a positive tone when looking to run your campaign and be ready to shift and pivot as demand fluctuates. 

Marketing While Remaining Sensitive 

With the rise of COVID-19 related news, the world of paid advertising often shares the screen with negative news related to the pandemic, and each click is money spent.

So, while marketers continue to grapple with fluctuating demand, it is advised that they also consider the effect certain keywords have on their business as it relates to visibility and conversion rates. Freisen echoes this, suggesting, “You can also limit where your ad shows up.”

For example, maybe you don’t want your advertisement appearing next to COVID-19-related content during this sensitive time.” In such a case, marketers must consider how much of an effect this news is having on their audience’s engagement rates, given the possibility that reducing their ad visibility could jeopardize their businesses visibility altogether. 

Many believe that pressures brought on by COVID-19 may actually give way to a new generation of innovative and effective marketing tactics. Will we likely see another shift happen again in the future? Yes. But even in the darkest of times, it is the marketers job to take whatever is thrown and make it into something inspiring, impactful, and compelling.

Key Takeaways

Businesses must remain present in their strategies, and should ultimately continue to prepare for life beyond quarantine. It is likely that demand will skyrocket as the world begins to move forward again. Though, the entire marketing landscape as we know it will be changed forever.

Recognizing these changes both now and in the future, will not only give you a leg-up in terms of a higher ROI and engagement rate but provide you with a catalyst that is sure to drive your business to new heights. That is the importance of listening, understanding, and exercising compassion towards your audiences.

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