With society turned upside down in a few short weeks, marketing to consumers is a difficult task and can leave businesses unsure of where to start. While most companies and brands are no strangers to crisis management, the pandemic is something new to us all. Implementing a successful marketing strategy becomes increasingly difficult due to the volatile environment and changing behavior trends. Consumers being told to stay at home and be socially distant is without a doubt catalyzing these changes.
For example, consumers have returned to cable television for credible information on the pandemic. People also have put an increased emphasis on e-commerce channels as ways of payment, avoiding unnecessary touching (i.e., the chip reader at the grocery store). With so much changing so fast, how can your brand take the necessary actions to mitigate risk, attract new customers, and retain current ones?
Address Customer Concerns with Empathy
People want their concerns to be addressed by the brands they know and trust. When a brand takes an empathic approach when addressing their consumers, it creates a feeling of personability. For example, with millions out of work many banks have chosen to get rid of overdraft fees.
This is not only useful in retaining your customers but also a great tool to gain new ones. If you had to choose which bank you’d rather deal with, one that remained stagnant or one that adapted to customers’ needs, which one would you choose?) Yeah, I’d pick the one that adapted to change too. The use of empathy here brings out a sense of humility and a relationship-focused strategy, which can help your marketing through the pandemic.
Another large concern for people is ordering food. Sometimes going to the grocery store just does not cut it, but how can you be sure the food establishment is handling your food safely? A restaurant and deli in my town has successfully remained open by taking an empathetic approach and keeping customers in the loop on how they operate. This deli provided free meals to all healthcare workers, displaying their concern and awareness of what these people are dealing with daily.
On their front door, there is a sign explaining their protocols employees had to take to continue to work. This transparency eased the mind of consumers and answered any concerns they would have. Now more than ever, it is crucial to be vocal and reach your audiences with timely and relevant information.
Use Digital Marketing to Your Advantage
People everywhere are bored. Whether you are working from home, taking online classes, or without a job, finding ways to pass the time can be difficult. What does this mean exactly? It means that there has been an increase in time spent on media across all platforms.
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Therefore, an effective way to use marketing through the pandemic would be to modify your marketing mix to suit current trends better. Try and increase spending on ads in premium videos, games, and social media apps like Snapchat, Tik Tok, and Instagram. This will help users engage with your brand and products as well as increase the relevance of brand name.
I know personally that my Instagram feed often contains products I am genuinely interested in from brands I have not heard of. But remember not to over saturate one app with ads because we all know how annoying it can be to hear/see the same ads over and over again. Overexposure can lead to damaged brand equity.
If you do not do so already use tools like Google Analytics that allow you to see data such as conversion percentage across different platforms to assist you in your marketing decision making. If you want to learn some other helpful digital marketing tools and certifications you can get to help with your efforts, you can check them out here.
Bring People Together
When times are tough, a united front is crucial to maintain stability and sanity. Many are frustrated about being homebound and unable to see family and friends.
Something a brand can do is create an opportunity out of this by shifting their consumer’s perspectives on staying home. Ikea executed this very well, reminding consumers that their homes are a place of safety, warmth, and positivity that they have already created. This video Ikea released shows the stability that can be found in their customer’s homes while the world changes in unknown ways. Ikea successfully showed their consumers that among all this craziness you are still in control of your home.
Another way of bringing people together is by donating profits to food banks, charities, and health care workers. Not only are you contributing to a great cause, but consumers will align with your brand and want to transact with it.
The pandemic has taken a toll on businesses and changed the way consumers behave. With the future so unsure and a possible second wave of the virus, it is crucial to understand, develop, and implement a successful marketing plan for your company. Don’t just focus on revenue maximization. Focus on customer satisfaction. If you put your customer first, the value you provide them will show in your bottom line.