There’s no denying that the world has turned upside down in recent weeks. The outbreak of the global pandemic Covid-19 is something that very few foresaw, and which has turned businesses across the world upside down. With strict lockdown conditions in place in countries across the world, events being cancelled and people learning to work remotely and avoid social contact, the rules of the game have changed in every respect.
That goes double when it comes to marketing. Resilient businesses want to survive and adapt, but equally must be sensitive to the current situation. No one wants to be seen as insensitive or tone-deaf to the various hardships people are suffering. Simultaneously, many are struggling to ensure the survival of their business. There’s no rule book for this situation. So how do you market your business through a crisis on this scale?
How Do You Market Your Business In Times Of Crisis?
Put Your People First
It should go without saying, but the welfare of people – your employees and also your customers – needs to be foremost when it comes to the survival of your business. This includes your marketing strategy. So how can you put the people first?
Communicate clearly what it is that you are doing to help. Genuinely get involved in initiatives that can support people during this times, whether it’s offering a good discount on products or services for medical personnel, joining a group to help vulnerable people in your community or helping out with time or money at a food bank.
Your customers will be acutely aware of the humanity in your efforts. Those messages that you are carrying on and finding ways to help will resonate a lot better than continuing with the same sales messages. Make sure it’s genuine and that you are not putting staff at risk as you continue to do business.
Pick The Right Channels
Now more than ever, being present and reaching out on the right channels will play well with your audience. Take your time to connect with people on social and strengthen your digital marketing messages to suit the new situation.
It is during times of crisis that your social postings may in fact increase. Be clear about disruptions to service or long order dispatch times – customers appreciate honesty, even when you don’t have all the answers. Proactively reach out to your audience with polls and social listening. Take note of their concerns, what they want to know and what might make their lives a little better.
Create Your Marketing Contingency Plan
The businesses which manage to emerge from this crisis will have one thing in common – agility. Being able to quickly adapt to ever-shifting conditions – volatile markets, changes in customer behavior, and sudden ups and downs in business. It’s worth modelling a range of business scenarios and planning out a response to each, so that you have a clear path.
For example, you may need to switch suppliers to be able to fulfill orders. You may want to prepare different versions of your product to suit changing budgets and customer needs. Re-evaluate ALL marketing activity – if you normally attend a lot of in person events, now is the time to switch to virtual ones. Or, you may want to temporarily reallocate the budget to improving the SEO of your website or strengthening your email marketing.
With a little responsiveness, your business can emerge from these unprecedented times leaner, but with a stronger customer focus and ready for success.